The S&P 500 and the Dow inched lower on Friday, extending their longest losing spree in a year as fears about the outlook for the economy in a future still dominated by the coronavirus weighed on investor sentiment.
Five of the 11 major S&P indexes fell in early trading, with a 0.7% drop for energy stocks putting them on course for one of their worst weeks since the coronavirus-driven crash in March.
The defensive real estate sector led gains among those trading higher.
A clutch of mixed macroeconomic data has weighed on Wall Street in recent weeks, overshadowing signs of progress on Congressional stimulus that, analysts say, is needed to sustain an economic recovery.
“There’s evidence of a slowdown in the United States, which we think is temporary, but it would be reinforced if there is no additional fiscal package,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management in Luxembourg.
The S&P 500 is on course for its fourth straight weekly decline – its longest losing streak since August 2019 – and is hovering just above correction territory with investors oscillating between beaten-down technology-related shares and value-linked sectors such as industrials.
At 10:07 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 39.09 points, or 0.15%, at 26,776.35, and the S&P 500 was down 1.50 points, or 0.05%, at 3,245.09.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 25.38 points, or 0.24%, at 10,697.65, propped up by a 1% jump in Apple Inc.
Shares of tech mega-caps including Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp, which are perceived as relatively safe assets at a time of economic uncertainty, also inched higher.
The S&P industrials sector added 0.2% as data showed new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods increased more than expected in August.
Analysts warned the CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, could climb higher toward the end of the quarter next week as well as the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Costco Wholesale Corp fell 2.6% as the warehouse chain recorded high coronavirus-related costs for the second straight quarter.
Boeing Co gained 2.4% after Europe’s chief aviation safety regulator said the planemaker’s grounded 737 MAX could receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November and enter service by the end of the year.
Novavax Inc jumped 9.8% after the drugmaker launched a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.
Advancing issues nearly matched decliners on the NYSE and outnumbered them 1.68-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high or low, while the Nasdaq recorded seven new highs and 23 new lows.
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