S&P 500 ends nearly flat as record remains elusive

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 16, 2020

Trading on Wall Street was subdued on Friday as doubts crept in about a new United States stimulus Bill, while the S&P 500 hovered below record highs as a swathe of domestic data showed the economy was still smarting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The S&P 500 and Dow indexes dipped at the open on Thursday as weekly jobless claims fell below 1 million last week, but that was likely due to the expiration of a US$600 weekly jobless supplement that discouraged some from filing claims.

"New all-time highs are like rusty doors and require several attempts before they finally break open", said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in NY.

Hitting a closing record would confirm, according to a widely accepted definition, that the S&P 500 entered a new bull market after hitting its pandemic low on March 23.

"Investors are taking a pause".

Friday's declines put the record a bit further out of reach.

Separately, readings showed that U.S. factory output increased more than expected last month, but remained below pre-pandemic levels, while consumer sentiment was largely steady in the first half of this month.

Although the benchmark index rose for a third straight week, it has struggled to top its all-time high as prospects of more fiscal aid faded with the US Senate and House of Representatives in recess and no fresh talks scheduled.

At 11:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 26.73 points, or 0.10%, at 27,869.99, the S&P 500 was down 3.44 points, or 0.10%, at 3,369.99.

The upcoming US presidential election is adding caution, along with continued outbreaks of the virus in parts of the United States.

Applied Materials Inc gained 4.4% after it forecast fourth-quarter revenue above analysts' estimates following a rebound in demand for chip equipment and services.

Shares of German biotechnology firm CureVac BV almost tripled in their NASDAQ debut, marking the first stock market debut of a company developing a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 39 new highs and seven new lows.

Volume on USA exchanges was 7.83 billion shares, compared with the 10.1 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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