NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street retreated on Friday as weak earnings sparked a pre-weekend selloff that was also fed by surging coronavirus cases and geopolitical uncertainties.
For the second day in a row, the tech sector weighed heaviest on all three major U.S. stock averages. Intel Corp (INTC.O) led the sell-off, with its shares plunging15.7% after the chipmaker reported a delay in production of a smaller, faster 7-nonometer chip.
“Investors have made so much money in these tech stocks in the last few weeks, the moment they see any sign of weakness they’re taking profits,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Bronson Meadows Capital Management in Fairfield Connecticut.
Each index was on track for a weekly loss, with the S&P 500 and the Dow snapping three-week winning streaks and the tech-heavy Nasdaq on course for its biggest weekly decline in July.
The retreat followed a rally that brought the S&P 500 to nearly 5% below its record high reached in February. The bellwether index is now near break-even for the year, while the Nasdaq has gained more than 15% year-to-date.
“It’s profit taking and general anxiety,” Pursche added. “Investors are nervous about the GDP number next week and earnings coming out.”
Momentum stocks Apple, Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Amazon.com (AMZN.O) are scheduled to post results on July 30, the day the U.S. Commerce Department is due to give its first take on second-quarter GDP. Economists projected the economy dropped by a bruising 35% during the three-month period.
More than 1,000 Americans died from COVID-19 on Thursday, the third straight day for that grim milestone as total cases surged past 4 million.
Beijing fired back at Washington shuttering China’s Houston consulate by closing the U.S. consulate in the city of Chengdu.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 131.78 points, or 0.49%, to 26,520.55, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 14.85 points, or 0.46%, to 3,220.81 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 61.79 points, or 0.59%, to 10,399.63.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but consumer discretionary .SPLRCD were in the red.
Healthcare .SPXHC was the biggest percentage loser, dropping 1.1% ahead of executive orders by President Donald Trump aimed at lowering drug prices.
Second-quarter earnings season charges ahead, with 128 constituents of the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 80.5% have cleared a very low bar of analyst expectations.
American Express Co (AXP.N) fell 0.9% after reporting an 85% slump in quarterly profit after setting aside nearly $628 million to cover potential defaults.
Verizon Communications Inc’s (VZ.N) beat analyst profit and revenue estimates as the telecom saw strong demand due to stay-at-home mandates, boosting its shares by 1.4%.
Honeywell International Inc’s (HON.N) cost-cutting efforts resulted in better-than-expected second-quarter profit despite a sharp decline in its aerospace segment.
Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O) jumped 16.1%.
Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) extended Thursday’s losses, falling 4.2%.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.52-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 8 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 21 new highs and 19 new lows.
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