Tuesday, August 11, 2020  

 
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Late Drop Leaves US Stocks Lower       08/11 15:58

   Wall Street pumped the brakes on its recent rally Tuesday, as a late slide 
in big technology companies left stocks broadly lower, erasing an early gain.

   (AP) -- Wall Street pumped the brakes on its recent rally Tuesday, as a late 
slide in big technology companies left stocks broadly lower, erasing an early 
gain.

   The reversal left the S&P 500 with a 0.8% loss after having been up 0.6% 
earlier. The decline in big-name technology stocks like Apple and Microsoft, 
plus losses in health care and communications stocks, outweighed gains in 
financial, industrial and energy companies. Tech stocks have far outpaced the 
rest of the market this year as investors bet they could still thrive in a 
stay-at-home economy.

   The pullback ended the S&P 500's seven-day winning streak. Despite the 
sell-off, the benchmark index remains within 2% of the all-time high it reached 
in February, reflecting a stunning turnaround from a nearly 34% tumble in March 
when the coronavirus pandemic sent stocks into a nosedive.

   Investors have grown more confident in recent weeks amid some positive 
economic data and better-than-expected second-quarter results from companies, 
suggesting corporate profits could be headed higher in the second half of this 
year and in 2021. Traders are also increasingly optimistic that the many 
pharmaceutical companies working on ways to treat COVID-19 will deliver a 
working vaccine in the coming months.

   "What is a risk worth taking is the assumption that a vaccine will be made 
available around year-end, and that this vaccine will help eliminate the virus 
in the coming year," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA 
Research.

   The S&P 500 fell 26.78 points to 3,333.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 
dropped 104.53 points, or 0.4%, to 27,686.91. The Nasdaq composite lost 185.53 
points, or 1.7%, to 10,782.82. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks 
gave up 9.57 points, or 0.6%, to 1,575.10.

   European and Asian markets closed broadly higher. Treasury yields rose, a 
sign that pessimism about the economy is easing. Oil prices fell.

   The stock market is on pace for its fifth month of gains in a row, even as 
the broader U.S. economy continues to struggle. While there have been some 
positive signs, including a jobs report on Friday that showed a 
larger-than-expected increase in hiring in July, the economy remains hobbled by 
high unemployment and an uneven reopening by businesses as the number of new 
confirmed coronavirus cases has increased in recent weeks. The outlook for an 
full economic recovery is clouded by worries that the resurgence in infections 
could force the economy to backtrack.

   Unprecedented actions by the Federal Reserve to stabilize markets this 
spring, including lowering interest rates and ramping up bond purchases, have 
made stocks attractive relative to other assets and given traders enough 
confidence to keep snapping up stocks.

   Meanwhile, investors continue to keep an eye on Washington for a fresh 
lifeline for the U.S. economy. On Saturday, Trump issued executive orders to 
extend an expired benefit for unemployed workers, among other things, in 
response to a collapse of negotiations on Capitol Hill for another economic 
rescue bill. Critics said the moves did not go far enough to support the 
economy and questioned how they would work.

   While talks between Democrats and Republicans on a new economic relief 
package appear to have stalled, investors are still optimistic both sides will 
reach an agreement.

   "The markets do show that they believe something is going to get passed," 
said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments.

   Traders also have been grappling with uncertainty over widening antagonisms 
between the United States and China, the world's largest economies. The two 
sides are scheduled to hold virtual trade talks at the end of the week.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.64% from 0.57% late Monday, a 
big move.

   Oil prices closed lower after being up earlier. Benchmark U.S. crude oil for 
September delivery fell 0.8% to settle at $41.61 per barrel. Brent crude oil 
for October delivery fell 1.1% to settle at $44.50 per barrel.

 
 
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