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Nasdaq futures jump as Big Tech booms during pandemic

imageStock Markets46 minutes ago (Jul 31, 2020 01:00PM ET)

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(C) Reuters. Times Square is illuminated in blue as part of the “Light It Blue” initiative to honor healthcare workers, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York

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By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Dow slipped on Friday as fears about the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic replaced early euphoria from stunning quarterly earnings reports by Apple, Amazon.com and Facebook.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) surged as much as 7.1% to briefly take over Saudi Aramco (SE:2222) as the world’s most valuable public company, as it delivered year-on-year revenue gains across every category and in every geography.

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) jumped 4.2% after posting the biggest profit in its 26-year history, while Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) gained 7.6% after it reported better-than-expected revenue.

Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc, on the other hand, fell 4.5% as quarterly sales dipped for the first time in its 16 years as a public company.

Investors betting on more U.S. government stimulus, before an extra $600-per-week federal jobless benefit expires on Friday, have also been disappointed as the Senate adjourned for the weekend and will return on Monday.

“People are fearing that we’re going to have a longer recovery and things like oil, which is highly dependent on global economic activity increasing, is going to be left behind,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

Energy stocks fell the most among the 11 major S&P sectors after Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) reported an $8.3 billion loss on asset writedowns and ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) Corp recorded a second consecutive quarterly loss.

A surge in the stock price of the tech titans, which make up nearly a fifth of the S&P 500’s value, and an estimated $5 trillion in asset purchases unleashed by the five biggest central banks globally have sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq to record highs and set the S&P 500 on course for its fourth straight monthly gain.

The benchmark index is now about 4% shy of its February all-time high, but faltering macroeconomic data and rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are making investors cautious again.

Figures on Thursday confirmed the sharpest contraction in U.S. GDP since the Great Depression, while rising jobless weekly claims suggested a nascent recovery in the labor market was stalling.

At 10:57 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 162.43 points, or 0.62%, at 26,151.22, the S&P 500 was down 10.14 points, or 0.31%, at 3,236.08. The Nasdaq Composite was up 32.42 points, or 0.31%, at 10,620.23.

The second-quarter earning season is past the halfway mark with about 82.1% of companies that have reported beating significantly lowered estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) reversed premarket gains and fell 4.3% after the heavy equipment maker signaled more pain due to an uncertain economic outlook.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.66-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.04-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 14 new lows.

Graphic: Apple briefly becomes world’s most valuable company – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/rlgpdnxerpo/Pasted%20image%201596208713359.png

S&P 500, Dow slide as pandemic nerves offset tech euphoria

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