Wall Street dips on fears over rising COVID-19 cases, tech weighs

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FILE PHOTO: Traders wear masks as they work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

July 16, 2020

By Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended down on Thursday, pulled lower by Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, as elevated levels of unemployment claims heightened concerns about the economic toll from rising coronavirus cases.

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in June, but a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases is undercutting the budding recovery, keeping 32 million Americans on unemployment benefits.

A jump in cases of the virus has forced California and other states to shut down again, sparking fears of more business damage and slowing the pace of a Wall Street rally. The S&P 500 is about 5% below its February record high.

“The economic data shows there is still a challenge going forward,” said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee. “Congress better get its act together and pass another fiscal stimulus.”

The S&P real estate <.SPLRCR> and technology <.SPLRCT> indexes fell more than others.

Apple and Microsoft dipped, each weighing more than any other company on the S&P 500.

“This is an early indication of good signs that money is now flowing away from completely overbought Nasdaq into those names that will bode well when the economy starts finding more of a solid footing,” said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist at Dallas, Texas-based Delos Capital Advisors.

Twitter Inc <TWTR.N> fell after hackers accessed its internal systems to hijack some of the platform’s top voices, including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.

Shares of Netflix <NFLX.O> rose ahead of the streaming video company’s quarterly report after the bell, which will show investors how it has fared during the coronavirus lockdown.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 0.5% to end at 26,734.64 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.34% to 3,215.59. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 0.73%, to 10,473.83.

Rounding up earnings reports of big banks, Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> fell after its second-quarter profit more than halved, while Morgan Stanley <MS.N> rose after posting a record quarterly profit.

American Airlines <AAL.O> tumbled after it sent 25,000 notices of potential furloughs to frontline workers and warned that demand for air travel is slowing again.

Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> declined after its vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the second quarter, according to data from a marketing research firm.

(Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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