US Stocks: S&P 500, Nasdaq rise after upbeat economic data

By: |
October 29, 2020 8:49 PM

The Nasdaq Composite gained 58.57 points, or 0.53% to 11,063.44 as heavyweights Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc rose about between 0.4% and 3% ahead of their results after the closing bell.

(AP Photo/File)

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Thursday after upbeat economic data eclipsed worries about surging coronavirus cases, while technology heavyweights found support ahead of quarterly earnings reports.

The U.S. economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter as the government poured out more than $3 trillion worth of pandemic relief. A separate report showed weekly unemployment claims fell more than expected in the latest week.

“GDP hit it out of the park, as expected,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment product at E*TRADE Financial.

“But it remains to be seen if that can provide any catalyst given that it’s not really capturing the slowdown we’ve seen in the past few weeks and we’re coming off of a dismal Q2 read.”

The CBOE volatility index still hovered at a 15-week high as the White House coronavirus task force urged for aggressive measures to curb the spread of the disease and on anxiety over the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden holds a comfortable lead over President Donald Trump in national polls, but the race in battleground states that will likely decide the election are tighter than the national surveys.

Stalled efforts in Washington over fresh stimulus and an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases globally have put Wall Street’s main indexes on course for their worst week since March.

“People are worried that the shutdown in Europe is going to spread to the United States although I think the chances of another national shutdown are extremely low,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager in New York.

The energy sector fell 0.7% as oil prices were hammered by fears over fuel demand as Germany and France went back into lockdown.

At 09:50 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 69.30 points, or 0.26% to 26,450.65 and the S&P 500 gained 4.99 points, or 0.15% to 3,276.02.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 58.57 points, or 0.53% to 11,063.44 as heavyweights Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc rose about between 0.4% and 3% ahead of their results after the closing bell.

Facebook Inc, which also reports later in the day, gained 3.2%, riding on Pinterest Inc’s upbeat forecast for sales growth that highlighted a rebound in ad spending.

Shares of the image-sharing company soared over 38%, also driving a 7% gain in Twitter Inc.

Coach owner Tapestry Inc jumped 8% after it beat quarterly results estimates and forecast growth for the year as demand for luxury handbags and apparel rebounds in China from pandemic lows.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 0.6-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted three new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 22 new highs and 53 new lows.

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