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Travel stocks slump as European COVID cases rise
Tech, stay-at-home stocks gain
S&P retail index hits new best after strong earnings
Indexes: Dow down 0.75%, S&P down 0.14%, Nasdaq up 0.4%
Weekly indexes: Dow down 1.38%, S&P up 0.34%, Nasdaq up 1.24%
Adds closing prices, weekly figures, analyst quote
By David French
Nov 19 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC closed above 16,000 points for the first time on Friday, in its second-straight record finish powered by technology stocks, while pandemic jitters sent the Dow to its fourth losing session in the last five.
Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 index .SPX scored a winning week, up 1.2% and 0.3% respectively, after last week’s declines snapped a five-week run of higher finishes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s .DJI second-successive weekly loss – this one of 1.4% – wiped out the last of its November gains, extending the index’s drop from a Nov. 8 record high to 2.3%.
Friday’s fall was caused by banking, energy and airline stocks slumping on fears that European countries, battling a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, could follow Austria in moving towards a full lockdown.
Banking stocks .SPXBK fell 1.6%, tracking a drop in Treasury yields as investors snapped up safe-haven bonds. The S&P energy index .SPNY dropped 3.9%, the worst performing sector, as crude prices fell on demand implications. O/RUS/
Carriers including Delta Air Lines DAL.N, United Airlines UAL.O and American Airlines AAL.O, and cruiseliners Norwegian Cruise Line NCLH.N and Carnival Corp CCL.N all dropped between 0.6% and 2.8%.
“It’s a normal time to take risk off. And in this case, there’s just so much liquidity that the market doesn’t go down – just people take risk off by going into safe havens,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.
Falling yields and safe-haven demand supported major technology stocks, which in turn lifted the Nasdaq .IXIC.
FAANG stocks, which have largely persevered through economic shocks since 2020, traded broadly higher. Netflix Inc NFLX.O gained along with other stay-at-home stocks.
Chipmaker Nvidia Corp NVDA.O rose 4.1% to its third straight closing high, and the Philadelphia semiconductor index .SOX, up 0.3%, hit its third record closing high in four.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 268.97 points, or 0.75%, to 35,601.98; the S&P 500 .SPX lost 6.58 points, or 0.14%, at 4,697.96; and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 63.73 points, or 0.4%, to 16,057.44.
The S&P 500 gyrated on Friday before slipping into negative territory, after a week in which retailers pushed it to a record finish the previous day.
The S&P consumer discretionary sector .SPLRCD rose 0.3% to a closing peak for a second day in a row, after breaking its lifetime intraday high on Friday. This follows strong retail earnings this week and positive signs for holiday shopping.
Lowe’s Companies LOW.N rose 0.9% to its third successive record close after reporting third-quarter results on Wednesday. Etsy Inc ETSY.O, which posted earnings earlier this month, achieved the same closing feat after finishing up 1.4%.
“Out of the Q3 earnings, one of the trends we have seen is the resounding strength of the U.S. consumer,” said Jessica Bemer, portfolio manager at Easterly Investment Partners.
“We’ve heard it all through this week from retailers talking about the consumer coming back into the store, enjoying the shopping experience and getting ready for the holidays. It makes sense but it was really validated during earnings season.”
Profit-taking in names which gained earlier in the week led to drops of between 2.9% and 8.8% in Macy’s Inc M.N, Kohls Corp KSS.N and Gap Inc GPS.N.
The information technology segment .SPLRCT, up 0.8%, was the best performer on the S&P 500.
It was buoyed by Intuit Inc INTU.O, which jumped 10.1% as brokerages lifted their price targets on the income tax software company after it beat quarterly estimates and raised forecasts.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.68 billion shares, compared with the 11.12 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and nine new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 100 new highs and 309 new lows.
(Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Devik Jain in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Richard Chang)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.