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Wall St ends higher thanks to tech boost

Herbert Lash
·4-min read

Technology stocks have again riden to Wall Street's rescue, lifting the main indexes more than 1.0 per cent but the Dow and the S&P 500 still posted their longest weekly losing streaks in a year as fears of a slowing economy sparked an almost month-long rout.

Investors started buying beaten-down shares after the Nasdaq confirmed a corrective phase earlier this month and the S&P 500 on an intra-day basis briefly broke that barrier this week.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 notched their fourth straight weekly declines, the longest weekly losing streak since August 2019.

The Nasdaq closed higher for the week after falling the previous three, and is now up 22 per cent for the year.

The S&P 500 is up a bit more than 2.0 per cent for the year.

Investors are looking at the long term and believe technology remains the investment of choice, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

"It's dip buying," Moya said. "When you look at the correction that we've seen in these tech giants, people are still going to want to hold US equities. The reality is that 2021 is going to be a much higher stock market and you're probably going to see tech still lead the way."

Shares of tech mega-caps Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc led the way, followed by Nvidia Corp and Facebook Inc, rising at least 2.1 per cent.

The information technology index jumped 2.4 per cent as investors ditched value-linked stocks on signs of a slowdown in the broader economic recovery.

Growth-oriented shares gained at a rate almost twice that of value stocks.

Volatility has also shot up as investors look for clarity on whether Congress will approve more stimulus ahead of the November 3 presidential election, which now appears unlikely.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index, known as Wall's fear gauge, fell 7.68 per cent.

"You've had this nice recovery through the (northern) summer, and coming into the fall the economy is just a little bit more vulnerable, particularly with a lot of the stimulus that we had starting to taper off now," said Mike Dowdall, portfolio manager at BMO Global Asset Management in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 358.52 points, or 1.34 per cent, to 27,173.96. The S&P 500 gained 51.87 points, or 1.60 per cent, to 3,298.46 and the Nasdaq Composite added 241.30 points, or 2.26 per cent, to 10,913.56.

For the week, the Dow unofficially fell 1.74 per cent, the S&P 500 slid 0.63 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.1 per cent.

Volume on US exchanges was 8.89 billion shares,

The S&P industrials sector rose 1.49 per cent as data showed new orders for key US-made capital goods jumped in August, while a 0.06 per cent slide in energy stocks gave them their worst week since mid-June.

Cruise liners Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp jumped 7.7 per cent or more after Barclays upgraded their shares to "overweight".

Shares of Boeing Co rose 6.8 per cent and led the Dow higher after the US Federal Aviation Administration said its chief will conduct an evaluation flight of the grounded 737 MAX and European safety regulators indicated a potential resumption of flights by year end.

Costco Wholesale Corp fell 1.27 per cent as the warehouse chain recorded high coronavirus-related costs for a second straight quarter.

Novavax Inc jumped 10.9 per cent after the drug maker launched a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

The number of coronavirus cases in the US topped 7 million as midwest states reported spikes in COVID-19 infections in September, according to a Reuters tally.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.30-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.94-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 26 new highs and 49 new lows.