July 16, 2020 / 11:01 AM / a month ago

Wall Street ends lower on COVID-19 worries, tech weighs

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 dropped on Thursday, pulled lower by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), as elevated levels of unemployment claims heightened concerns about the economic toll from rising coronavirus cases.

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in June, but a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases is undercutting the budding recovery, keeping 32 million Americans on unemployment benefits.

A jump in cases of the virus has forced California and other states to shut down again, sparking fears of more business damage and slowing the pace of a Wall Street rally. The S&P 500 is about 5% below its February record high.

“The economic data shows there is still a challenge going forward,” said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee. “Congress better get its act together and pass another fiscal stimulus.”

The S&P real estate .SPLRCR and technology .SPLRCT indexes each lost more than 1%, more than any others.

Apple declined 1.2% and Microsoft lost 2%, each weighing more than any other company on the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 has exceeded the Nasdaq by nearly 3 percentage points over the past week, its greatest five-day outperformance over the Nasdaq since late March, reflecting a shift away from Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Microsoft and other major technology companies that have led Wall Street’s gains in recent months.

“This is an early indication of good signs that money is now flowing away from completely overbought Nasdaq into those names that will bode well when the economy starts finding more of a solid footing,” said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist at Dallas, Texas-based Delos Capital Advisors.

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) fell 1.1% after hackers accessed its internal systems to hijack some of the platform’s top voices, including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.

In extended trade, Netflix (NFLX.O) tumbled 10% after the streaming video service’s quarterly report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 0.5% to end at 26,734.71 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.34% to 3,215.57.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.73%, to 10,473.83.

Rounding up earnings reports of big banks, Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) fell 2.7% after its second-quarter profit more than halved, while Morgan Stanley (MS.N) rose 2.5% after posting a record quarterly profit.

American Airlines (AAL.O) tumbled 7.4% after it sent 25,000 notices of potential furloughs to frontline workers and warned that demand for air travel is slowing again.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) declined nearly 3% after its vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the second quarter, according to data from a marketing research firm.

FILE PHOTO: Traders wear masks as they work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 30 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 76 new highs and 14 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.6 billion shares, compared with the 11.7 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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