Stocks extend losses as virus aid languishes in Congress
U.S. stock indexes pulled further away from their recent highs Friday as prospects for another aid package from Washington faded while a surge in virus cases threatens to inflict more damage on an already battered economy.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped 0.1%, its third straight decline since it set a record high on Tuesday. The benchmark index ended the week 1% lower after two weeks of solid gains. Losses in financial, technology, healthcare and other sectors outweighed gains in communication services, industrial companies and elsewhere. Treasury yields fell broadly, a signal that traders were seeking to lessen their exposure to riskier holdings.
The latest bout of selling, which eased toward the end of the day, came as investors continue to hope for Washington to come through with another financial lifeline for people, businesses and state governments struggling as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. But an emerging $900-billion aid package from a bipartisan group of lawmakers has essentially collapsed because of continued partisan bickering.
The S&P 500 slipped 4.64 points to 3,663.46. The index had been down 34 points in the early going. The Dow Jones industrial average got a boost from Disney, which hit a new high, jumping 13.6% after sharing encouraging subscriber growth numbers and future plans for its Disney+ streaming service. The index rose 47.11 points, or 0.2%, to 30,046.37. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 27.94 points, or 0.2%, to 12,377.87.
Small-company stocks, which have been making solid gains this month, also fell. The Russell 2000 small-cap index gave up 11.01 points, or 0.6%, to 1,911.70.
Technology companies and banks led the decline. Apple fell 0.7% and Bank of America dropped 1.9%.
After “a gloomy COVID winter,” widespread vaccination will bring years of robust growth to California’s economy, the UCLA Anderson forecast says.
Stocks have been climbing over the last few weeks as advances in vaccine development raised hopes that the pandemic could be tamed in the coming months and set the global economy on a path to normality.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 0.89%.
European markets ended lower, while Asian markets closed mixed.