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Markets

Wall Street supported by rise in cyclical stocks

  • Financial, material, energy, industrial sectors gain.
  • Uber falls after losing UK case on worker rights.
  • Indexes up: Dow 0.33%, S&P 0.27%, Nasdaq 0.47%.
Published February 19, 2021

US stocks gained on Friday, helped by a rise in economy-sensitive cyclical sectors, with the major Wall Street indexes on track to end the week on a dull note as investors rotated out of technology-related companies.

The S&P 500 technology and communication services sectors, housing high-value growth stocks, were among the smallest gainers in early trading, while financials, industrials, energy and materials rose more than 1%.

Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc fell between 0.5% and 1.0%, sticking to a trend seen for most parts of the week.

"What we saw (this week) represents a market that is tired and may not do very much. So we are headed for some sort of a pullback, but I don't think we're there just yet," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

"Investors are not really pulling out of the market, but they are becoming more cautious. It already has factored in another good positive earnings season."

The benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq were tracking their first weekly declines this month, as concerns over higher stock market valuations and a potential snag in inoculation efforts have led to fears of a short-term pullback in equities.

BofA expects a more than 10% pullback in stocks, which are trading at more than 22 times 12-month forward earnings, the most expensive since the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.

Strong earnings, progress in vaccination roll-outs and hopes of a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package helped US stock indexes hit record highs at the start of the week.

Meanwhile, data showed IHS Markit's flash US manufacturing PMI dropped to 58.5 in the first half of this month, hurt by a global semiconductor chip shortage and extreme weather in large parts of the United States.

Applied Materials Inc rose 8.3%, and was among the top boosts to the Nasdaq, after it forecast second-quarter revenue above market expectations, as demand for its semiconductor manufacturing tools picked up during a global shortage of semiconductors.

At 10:11 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 102.89 points, or 0.33%, at 31,596.23, the S&P 500 was up 10.59 points, or 0.27%, at 3,924.56, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 65.79 points, or 0.47%, at 13,931.15.

Under Armour Inc rose 2.8% after Oppenheimer upgraded the athleisure apparel maker's stock to "outperform".

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.88-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.01-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 94 new highs and two new lows.

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