Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Wall Street mixed with stimulus in focus; Dow hits over five-month high

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell on Monday as investors rotated out of heavyweight technology stocks and moved into lagging growth-linked sectors while awaiting word on progress in the fiscal support bill to support the country’s battered economy.

The blue-chip Dow index touched a more than five-month high, boosted by industrial and financials stocks. Planemaker Boeing (BA.N) was the biggest gainer on the index, adding about 4.2%.

Bets on a potential coronavirus vaccine, historic fiscal and monetary support, and more recently, a better-than-expected second quarter earnings season have brought the S&P 500 about 1% below its February record high.

The Nasdaq .IXIC, which hit a record high every day of last week, eased on Monday.

All three indexes opened higher after U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders that partly restored enhanced unemployment benefits after talks between the White House and top Democrats in Congress about fresh stimulus broke down.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview to CNBC on Monday, said the Trump administration and Congress could reach an agreement as soon as this week if Democrats are “reasonable.”

“I think the path is paved now between the vaccine news, executive orders, economic data and earnings and that money on balance in coming weeks and months will continue to move into cyclicals,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital Llc in New York.

“Particularly for many people who missed the rally, (cyclical) is the only place where you can still find value.”

Energy .SPNY and industrials .SPLRCI led gains among major S&P sectors. The two indexes are among the top three worst performers this year.

Technology .SPLRCT and communication services .SPLRCL fell about 0.8% each.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing were also at play, after Trump signed executive orders last week banning major Chinese technology firms in 45 days’ time while announcing sanctions on 11 Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

At 11:31 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 234.15 points, or 0.85%, at 27,667.63, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 1.23 points, or 0.04%, at 3,350.05. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 88.70 points, or 0.81%, at 10,922.29.

Among individual movers, Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) sank 30.7% after its $765-million loan agreement with the U.S. government to produce pharmaceutical ingredients was put on hold due to “recent allegations of wrongdoing.”

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) fell 2.2% as sources said its bid to carve out parts of TikTok from its Chinese owner ByteDance will be a technically complex endeavor that could test the patience of the White House.

The No. 1 U.S. mall owner Simon Property Group (SPG.N) rose 7.9% after a report that it has been in talks with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) about turning some of its department-store sites into Amazon fulfillment centers.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.53-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.47-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 31 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 86 new highs and nine new lows.

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