(C) Reuters. New York Stock Exchange opens during COVID-19
By Medha Singh and Devik Jain
(Reuters) – The S&P 500 edged higher in choppy trading on Wednesday as optimism over a pick up in business activity helped offset worries over simmering U.S.-China tensions, although gains were capped by losses in technology stocks.
Bank stocks (SPSY), which typically track improvements in the economic outlook, provided the biggest boost to the benchmark index, sending it past the psychologically important mark of 3,000 points in intraday trading for the second day.
In contrast, heavyweights Amazon.com (O:AMZN), Microsoft Corp (O:MSFT) and Facebook Inc (O:FB), which have led a recent rally, were down between 1% and 2%, while healthcare (SPXHC) and technology (SPLRCT) – outperformers in the coronavirus-led market slump – were among the S&P 500 sectors in the red.
“The managers that have missed this rally off the bottom are desperately panicking to find value and now they are starting to do it with banks,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.
“In the last couple of days, the reopening and the recovery have started to feel real for people and that goes a long way for confidence, both at the consumer level and in market sentiment as well.”
The easing of lockdowns, optimism about an eventual COVID-19 vaccine and massive U.S. stimulus have powered a recent stock market rally, helping the S&P 500 (SPX) end on Tuesday at its highest level since early March.
However, Sino-U.S. worries have kept a lid on further gains. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Washington would announce its response to China’s planned national security legislation on Hong Kong before the end of the week.
The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) was down 41.69 points, or 0.45%, at 9,298.53.
Facebook Inc (O:FB) and Twitter Inc (N:TWTR) slipped 2% and 3.3%, respectively, as Trump threatened to shutter social media companies a day after Twitter prompted readers to fact check some of his tweets.
Investor attention will now turn to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Beige Book of economic condition scheduled for release at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.34-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and seven new lows.
S&P 500 rises on boost from bank shares
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