Wall Street slips as losses in Facebook, Amazon weigh

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New York, Oct.19, 2020 (Reuters/NAN) Wall Street’s main indexes slipped on Monday as losses in tech-related heavyweights Facebook and Amazon eclipsed optimism on a coronavirus relief deal before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

U.S. stocks had opened higher after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before the election, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come by Tuesday for that to happen.

Last week the White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus package to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, but Pelosi said the offer fell short in a range of areas and stuck to her demand for $2.2 trillion in aid.

“I do believe that both sides, even though two weeks before election, can see the way to getting some money back into unemployment programs,” said Kim Forrest, Chief Investment Officer, Bokeh Capital Partners, Pittsburgh.

Wall Street’s fear gauge rose for a sixth straight session as election campaigns kicked into high gear, with early voting starting in Florida, a battleground state that could decide the presidential election.

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden will debate for a final time on Thursday.

Amazon.com, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp fell between 0.8 per cent and 1 per cent. They were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.

All major S&P sectors were trading lower, with the communication services index down about 1 per cent.

“It’s just the general volatility here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this bouncing around all day,” said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank.

At 12:40 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 100.05 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 28,506.26, the S&P 500 was down 15.01 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 3,468.80.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 36.10 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 11,635.45.

Video-streaming service Netflix Inc was a bright spot, rising 1.2 per cent ahead of its results on Tuesday.

After the financial sector set a mixed tone to the start of the third-quarter earnings season, investors will look to results from about 91 S&P 500 companies this week including International Business Machines Corp, whose quarterly report is expected later in the day.

Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co posted a fourth consecutive quarterly loss as this year’s slump in oil prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic hit demand for its services. Its shares, however, rose about 3.3 per cent.

ConocoPhillips slipped 0.1 per cent as it agreed to buy U.S. shale oil producer Concho Resources Inc for $9.7 billion as the energy sector continued to consolidate. Concho fell 0.9 per cent.

Chipmaker Microchip Technology Inc gained about 1.6 per cent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 94 new highs and 22 new lows.

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