‘Reopening’ stocks give S&P 500, Dow strong footing, tech names lag

Economy-sensitive cyclical S&P 500 sectors such as consumer staples, energy, and materials outperformed sectors housing growth stocks, including technology and communication services. —  Reuters pic
Economy-sensitive cyclical S&P 500 sectors such as consumer staples, energy, and materials outperformed sectors housing growth stocks, including technology and communication services. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, May 4 — The S&P 500 and the Dow indexes ended higher yesterday amid a largely upbeat earnings season, while the Nasdaq came under pressure from declines in some high-flying growth stocks, as the rotation into cyclical and “economy reopening” stocks continued.

Economy-sensitive cyclical S&P 500 sectors such as consumer staples, energy, and materials outperformed sectors housing growth stocks, including technology and communication services,.

The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was oil field services firm Baker Hughes, which rose 8 per cent. Apparel retailers also finished strong, with Gap Inc shares jumping 7.1 per cent and Foot Locker Inc up 4.1 per cent.

“All of those names that are having outsized gain today are as a result of economic reopening optimism, and people getting out of the house spending money on things,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 per cent to close at 34,113.23 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.27 per cent to 4,192.66. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.48 per cent, to 13,895.12.

Volume on US exchanges was 10.29 billion shares, compared with the 9.86 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

“We’ve seen a slight change in the pace of value stocks outperforming growth stocks year-to-date,” said Rod von Lipsey, managing director at UBS Private Wealth Management.

The Nasdaq index fell as megacap technology stocks, including Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp, traded lower despite largely upbeat results.

The stocks have struggled to maintain the upward trajectory coming into reporting season. Chipmakers also fell, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index down by 1.2 per cent.

With more than half of S&P 500 companies having reported so far, profits are now seen rising 46 per cent in the first quarter, compared with forecasts of 24 per cent growth at the start of April, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. About 87 per cent of the companies have come also reported earnings per share ahead of analysts’ estimates.

“This is now the fourth straight quarter of earnings just absolutely crushing estimates,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “I think there just continues to be an underestimation of how strong this rally and how strong the economy is rebounding.”

Strong earnings, improving economic data, fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s ultra accommodative stance have supported markets, pushing the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes to record levels last week.

US manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in April, likely constrained by shortages of inputs amid pent-up demand due to rising vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus.

The Labour Department’s non-farm payrolls data, slated to be released on Friday, is expected to show a rise in job additions in April.

The largest decliner was Estee Lauder, which dropped 7.9 per cent after the cosmetics maker missed analysts’ estimates for third-quarter sales.

The largest gainer on the Nasdaq 100 was Ebay Inc, which rose 4.2 per cent after the e-commerce firm says it is open to accepting to cryptocurrencies in future.

T-Mobile, Uber, Lyft, Square , Peloton and Pfizer are poised to report results later this week. — Reuters

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