US Nov 19
The Nasdaq eased from record highs Friday, but remained supported as investors piled into growth corners of the market like tech amid concerns about global growth following fresh lockdowns in Europe.
The S&P 500 fell 0.08%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.73%, or 261 points, the Nasdaq gained 0.44% after hitting an intraday record of 16,121.1.
Austria said it would reimpose a nationwide lockdown on Monday to curb surging Covid-19 cases, raising concerns about the impact on the global economy as larger economies in the bloc including Germany could also introduce fresh restrictions.
“[S]uddenly markets are paying attention [to raising Covid-19 cases in Europe] perhaps because policy responses are beginning to emerge,” Scotiabank Economics said.
Against the backdrop of rising doubts about a possible slowdown in the global economy, investors piled into growth sectors like tech.
Meta, formerly Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded higher.
Semiconductor stocks also supported the broader tech sector as a surge in Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) offset weakness in Applied Materials.
Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) reported third-quarter results and fourth-quarter guidance that fell short of estimates as supply shortages continue to weigh on growth. Its shares fell more than 4%.
The gains in consumer discretionary stocks, one of the best performing sectors this week, continued, with Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) up more than 2%.
Investor jitters over a slowdown in the global recovery dragged cyclical stocks lower, with energy and financials taking on the brunt of the selling pressure.
Energy fell more than 3% and is on track for second-weekly losses as oil prices fell below $80 a barrel on concerns fresh restrictions in Europe will dent oil demand.
Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), Hess (NYSE:HES), Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR) all fell more than 5% and led the selloff in the energy sector.
Travel-related stocks including United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB) were under pressure as investors eased bets on the reopening trade.
In health care, meanwhile, Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) was the standout performer, racking up a 6% gain after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Covid vaccine booster shots for all U.S. adults. Pfizer’s vaccine also received approval.
On the political front, the House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.75 trillion "human infrastructure" package, or Build Back Better Act.
The legislative measure will progress to the Senate, where Democrats hope to pass it using the budget reconciliation process, without Republican support.
The bill will likely have to be revised as centrists such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia have balked at its hefty price tag, and "question claims the initiative was fully paid for,” Stifel said.
“The bill would contribute $791B to the deficit in the next five years and $367B to the deficit over the coming 10 year period,” Stifel added, citing findings from the Congressional Budget Office.
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