Stocks Slip As Investors Weigh Corporate Earnings, Jobs Data

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, a sign for Wall Street is carved in the side of a building, in New York. Stocks are opening mostly lower on Wall Street Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, led by declines in banks and energy companies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday as investors weighed another batch of corporate earnings and economic data that could shed more light on how the economic recovery is going.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% as of 1:08 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 281 points, or 0.8%, to 34,837 and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.

Crude oil prices fell more than 3% and pushed energy companies lower. Industrial firms, retailers, hotels and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also fell.

Bond yields recovered from an early slip following an encouraging report on growth in the services sector, which makes up the bulk of the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply Management reported that in July the sector grew at its fastest pace since the survey started in 2008. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to remained at 1.17% from late Tuesday. It dipped as low as 1.13% in early trading.

Payroll processor ADP revealed a disappointing snapshot of the nation’s employment recovery, adding to concerns about the lagging recovery in the jobs market. ADP said the private sector added 330,000 jobs in July, falling far short of economists’ expectations. The report comes ahead of the Labor Department’s more comprehensive July jobs report on Friday.

“You’re getting some mixed signals, certainly, but we think we’ll get some good growth and the underlying economy is pretty good,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The recovery in the jobs market will likely continue to be bumpy, but it’s on track to continue improving over the long term, he said.

The resurgence of COVID-19 with the highly contagious delta variant in spots around the world is also a key concern for Wall Street. China’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic a year and a half ago escalated Wednesday with dozens more cases around the country and the sealing-off of one city.

While analysts don’t expect the spike in infections to send the world back in to the lockdowns experienced a year ago, it could still stunt economic growth.

Investors are also still in the thick of corporate earnings season. The results have been solid so far. Roughly 75% of companies in the S&P 500 have turned in their earnings and the majority have been surprisingly good.

Strong profit and revenue results weren’t enough to lift stocks for many companies on Wednesday, however. General Motors fell 8.4% despite overcoming an industry-wide chip shortage to beat analysts’ profit expectations and raise its forecast. CVS Health slipped 2.3% after also reporting solid results.

Ticket seller and concert promoter Live Nation rose 2.3% after reporting surprisingly mild second-quarter loss.

Online broker Robinhood surged 44.1%, a big turnaround following its tepid stock market debut last week. Trading was volatile and had to be halted three times shortly after the market opened. Market experts have cautioned that Robinhood’s stock could be in for a jagged ride because of its popularity among smaller investors.

By DAMIAN J. TROISE -  Aug 4. 2021 - 1:19 PM ET




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