The Nasdaq led Wall Street indexes higher on Friday, boosted by tech companies, despite fears about a weakening economy and probable withdrawal of stimulus sending the Dow and S&P 500 into its worst week since mid-June.
Amazon.com, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Nvidia Corp, Microsoft Corp, and Tesla Inc, which drove Wall Street’s historic rebound from the lows last year, rose 0.3 percent to 1%.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced in early trading. The S&P 500 energy sector underperformed, and was down 8% so far this week, heading for its worst performance since September last year.
Travel-related stocks including cruise liners, dropped as much as 0.6%, as Asian countries announced more drastic curbs and longer lockdowns for citizens to fight a surge in infections caused by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“The growing concerns of the weakening economy, the Fed tapering, and the Delta variant were at the front of traders’ minds and when you mix all of that together with the seasonally weak August and coming September period, it all added up to one of the worst weeks we’ve seen in a couple of months,” said Ryan Detrick, a senior market strategist at LPL Financial.
Global equities took a backseat this week, with U.S. stocks slipping from record highs as downbeat economic data from China compounded concerns regarding the outlook for U.S. stimulus.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed officials largely expect to reduce the central bank’s emergency monthly purchases of $120 billion of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities later this year, amid a recovery in the jobs market.
Focus is now on the Fed’s annual research conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, next week for any read about the central bank’s next steps.
“The market is so hypersensitive over tapering … the odds of more volatility around it are stronger, just because we’re so hyper focused on the Fed policy right now,” Detrick said.
At 10:04 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 181.48 points, or 0.52%, at 35,075.60, the S&P 500 was up 26.32 points, or 0.60%, at 4,432.12, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 120.09 points, or 0.83%, at 14,661.87.
For the week, the blue-chip Dow and the benchmark S&P 500 are down about 1.5% and 1% respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has fallen 1.3%, its worst since mid-July.
Deere & Co fell 1.7% even after it beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter revenue and lifted its full-year earnings forecast on strong demand for farm and construction equipment.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.49-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.78-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 126 new lows.