(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Dow dropped on Thursday as investors worried about another round of business shutdowns to contain a surge in coronavirus cases and they began to shift their focus to earnings.
The United States saw more than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, setting a single-day global record while Florida and Texas reported a record one-day increase in deaths.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) tumbled 8.2% after it reported a quarterly loss compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt by non-cash impairment charges of $2 billion as COVID-19 disrupted business at its Boots UK division.
Investors also are beginning to turn their focus to second-quarter earnings. S&P 500 companies are expected to post the biggest quarterly decline in earnings since the financial crisis, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.
“I expect a lot of confusing numbers and guidance. COVID is certainly not behind us in any way shape or form, so maybe the V gets elongated some,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Nasdaq was higher and hit another record high, however, helped by gains in Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 289.33 points, or 1.11%, to 25,777.95, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 11.05 points, or 0.35%, to 3,158.89 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 68.25 points, or 0.65%, to 10,560.75.
U.S. stocks had opened higher after data showed the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped to a near four-month low last week, but a record 32.9 million people were collecting unemployment checks in the third week of June.
A batch of upbeat economic data including the record pace of job additions in June has underscored that the stimulus-fueled domestic economy was on the path to recovery.
The benchmark S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March closing lows and is now about 7.8% below its February record high. The Nasdaq notched a record close in the prior session.
In a bullish signal for near-term momentum, the benchmark S&P 500’s chart formed a “golden cross” pattern, in which its 50-day moving average vaulted above the 200-day moving average.
Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) rose as Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the network gear maker’s stock to “overweight”.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.63-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.09-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 114 new highs and 29 new lows.
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