Friday, 18 Sep 2020

Wall St. mixed as investors eye stimulus

(Reuters) – Wall Street was mixed on Tuesday, buoyed by Apple and energy stocks but pulled lower by AIG and Microsoft, as investors awaited more U.S. government stimulus to reduce economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple (AAPL.O) climbed 1%, up for a fifth straight session as investors cheered the iPhone maker’s blowout quarterly report last week. The Silicon Valley heavyweight is $121 billion away from becoming the first U.S. publicly listed company with a stock market value of $2 trillion.

Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) dropped 4.3% to its lowest since May after quarterly revenue plunged due to coronavirus-related store closures and a slowdown in global demand for luxury goods.

American International Group Inc (AIG.N) tumbled 7.8% after its quarterly adjusted profit slumped.

Notwithstanding those two reports, about 83% of the 352 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported quarterly results so far have beaten estimates for earnings, according to IBES Refinitiv data.

“Investors are still comfortable that the trajectory of earnings is on the right path and the 2021 outlook has remained intact. All that helps support the market at these levels,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest.

“But there is an underlying level of uncertainty leading to a bit of caution,” Bell added.

The S&P 500 energy index .SPNY rose 2.5%, the strongest performer among 11 sectors.

Investors are betting on a major new coronavirus-aid bill, with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer saying talks with the White House were moving in the “right direction.”

A rally in tech-related stocks and trillions of dollars in monetary and fiscal stimulus have lifted the S&P 500 to within about 3% of February’s record high.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), which is looking to buy short-video app TikTok’s U.S. operations, fell 2.4%. President Donald Trump said on Monday the U.S. government should get a “substantial portion” of any deal price.

On Tuesday, state-backed newspaper China Daily said the country will not accept the “theft” of the technology company.

At 2:32 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 0.1% at 26,692.15 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.17% to 3,288.85.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.35% to 10,864.10, pulled lower by Microsoft.

Evergy Inc (EVRG.N) slumped 10% after two sources said the board of the Midwest utility planed to remain independent as bids solicited from prospective merger partners did not offer sufficient value.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O) rose 4.8% after it raised its annual adjusted sales forecast on demand for its videogame franchises “Grand Theft Auto” and “NBA 2K”.

Rival Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) gained 1.3% ahead of its results due after the closing bell.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), Fox Corp (FOXA.O) and Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O) are also expected to report quarterly results later in the day.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.79-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 116 new highs and 10 new lows.

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