NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended a choppy day with mixed results Monday as the market struggled to find direction. Apple and other Big Tech stocks lurched higher, then lower, then back up again. Several of them report their latest quarterly results this week. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4%, even though slightly more stocks fell than rose within the index. The Dow ended lower, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose. Traders are keeping a wary eye on rising coronavirus infections in various countries and a bumpy rollout of vaccinations in the U.S. The stock of GameStop, a money-losing video game retailer, went on another wild ride.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks wobbled in afternoon trading on Monday, as investors looked ahead to this week’s deluge of company earnings and remained concerned about the economic damage likely to result from a rise in coronavirus cases in some countries.
The S&P 500 was up 0.2% as of 2:43 p.m. Eastern after shifting between small gains and losses earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 105 points, or 0.3%, at 30,891, mostly due to financial companies like Goldman Sachs and American Express.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.03% from 1.07% late Friday.
Several big companies will report their results this week, including technology titan Apple. The iPhone maker will report its results on Wednesday after the closing bell. Others reporting this week include American Express, Johnson & Johnson, 3M and AT&T.
“We’ve had a sprint higher for about four weeks now and there’s a lot coming this week,” said Brad Peterson, national portfolio advisor at Northern Trust Wealth Management. “Today’s action is probably just a pause.”
Wall Street is waiting to see how negotiations start on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, while also facing a flood of corporate earnings reports and the latest comments from the Federal Reserve.
Investors are also weighing evidence of the economic damage of current coronavirus restrictions against hopes that once the pandemic comes under some control, economies will bounce back.
“Vaccine breakthroughs make it likely that life will become more functional again at some point in 2021, resulting in higher GDP growth and more robust corporate earnings,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi, said in a report.
However, increasing global infections and new variants of the virus, along with “tightening social distancing restrictions and delays in vaccine rollouts in some places, all increase the near-term growth risks,” he said.
Markets have been mostly rallying recently on hopes that COVID-19 vaccines will lead to a powerful economic recovery later this year as daily life gets closer to normal. Hopes are also high that Washington will deliver another dose of stimulus for the economy now that the White House and both houses of Congress are under single control of the Democrats.
President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion plan to send $1,400 to most Americans and deliver other support for the economy. But his party holds only the slimmest possible majority in the Senate, raising doubts about how much can be approved. Several Republicans have already voiced opposition to parts of the plan.
The coronavirus pandemic is also worsening and doing more damage to the economy by the day. A UN agency said Monday that four times as many jobs were lost last year as in 2009, during the global financial crisis.
GameStop, the video-game retailer that’s struggling to return to profitability, went on another wild ride, trading in a giant range between a low of $61.13 and a high of $159.18 in heavy trading volume. The stock was halted several times for volatility.
Some high-profile investors have been saying its stock price was too high and placed bets to profit from an eventual drop by “shorting” it, or borrowing shares of GameStop and selling them. But as the shares keep rising, these investors are forced to get out of their bets by buying the stock, pushing the price up further. In afternoon trading it was up 11.6% at $72.53. It was trading at $17 at the beginning of the year.
Technology stocks held up well and posted some of the biggest gains throughout the day. Apple rose 2.5% and Microsoft gained 1.4%. A solid earnings report helped lift shares of Huggies and Kleenex maker Kimberly-Clark by 4.6%.
Banks were the biggest drag on the market. JPMorgan Chase shed 1.4% and Bank of America fell 1.6%. Travel-related companies also slipped as the virus pandemic continues crimping business. Carnival fell 4.6% after telling investors it would delay operations for several ships until November.
In European stock markets, Germany’s DAX fell 1.7%, and France’s CAC 40 slipped 1.6%. The FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.8%.
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