Wall Street dips on fears over rising COVID-19 cases, tech weighs

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

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 domestic case loads 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 500 has exceeded the Nasdaq by over 2 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.

Apple lost 1.1% and Microsoft fell 1.9%, each weighing more than any other company on the S&P 500.

Most S&P 500 sector indexes fell, with real estate .SPLRCR down 1.3% and technology .SPLRCT down 1.2%, more than any other.

“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 1.4% 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.

At 2:28 p.m. ET (1828 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 0.62% at 26,702.34 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.44% to 3,212.51.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.66% to 10,480.66.

Rounding up earnings reports of big banks, Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) fell 3% after its second-quarter profit more than halved, while Morgan Stanley (MS.N) rose 2.2% after posting a record quarterly profit.

American Airlines (AAL.O) dropped 7.2% as 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) slipped 1.8% as its vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the second quarter, according to data from a marketing research firm.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.62-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and 10 new lows.

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