Tech stocks gain as S&P 500 flirts with record high

By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh (Reuters) - Technology-related shares were the top boosts to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Monday, bringing the benchmark index close to a record high as focus turned to earnings from big retailers later this week.

Reuters August 18, 2020 00:07:30 IST
Tech stocks gain as S&P 500 flirts with record high

Tech stocks gain as SP 500 flirts with record high

By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh

(Reuters) - Technology-related shares were the top boosts to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Monday, bringing the benchmark index close to a record high as focus turned to earnings from big retailers later this week.

The benchmark S&P 500 traded just a point shy of a record intraday high of 3,386.15 hit in February, after testing that level for most of last week, while the Dow Jones was weighed down by losses in financial and industrial stocks.

Chipmaker Nvidia Corp was among the top boosts to the Nasdaq, touching a record high as two brokerages raised price targets ahead of its quarterly results on Wednesday.

Home improvement chains such as Lowe's Cos Inc and Home Depot Inc rose more than 2% each ahead of their earnings later in the week.

The two companies are expected to have received a bump to their quarterly sales from consumers looking to do minor repair work while spending more time at home.

The S&P 500 retailing index rose 1%, with heavyweights Walmart Inc and Target Corp also set to report results.

"Earnings season in general has been much better than expected, but a big part of that is because the expectation has been so low," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee.

As of Friday, 457 companies in the S&P 500 had posted results, of which 81.4% came in above dramatically lowered expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the first of the major Wall Street indexes to recoup its coronavirus-induced losses as several of its largest constituents, including Amazon.com Inc and Netflix Inc, benefited from curbs on social activity.

"We had a big decline and we've had a big rally off of those lows. The question right now is what does the path from here look like. Whether it's recovery in earnings, what the consumer does and if markets can continue to move higher," Baird's Delwiche added.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting, due on Wednesday, are expected to provide more insight into the central bank's view of an economic recovery, while housing starts data is also on tap.

Caution is expected to seep into markets ahead of the U.S. presidential vote, as the election season kicks into higher gear with the Democratic National Convention, which runs Monday through Thursday.

At 12:33 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 53.35 points, or 0.19%, at 27,877.67, the S&P 500 was up 10.82 points, or 0.32%, at 3,383.67. The Nasdaq Composite was up 84.98 points, or 0.77%, at 11,104.28.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with technology providing the biggest support to the benchmark index.

Among individual movers, Principia Biopharma Inc jumped 9.3% to a record high after French healthcare firm Sanofi SA said it would buy the company for about $3.7 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.18-to-1 ratio on Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 28 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 71 new highs and nine new lows.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel, Anil D'Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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