US stocks end lower as Wall Street pauses after a four-day rally


US stocks end lower as Wall Street pauses after a four-day rally

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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Banks and technology companies led a broad slide for stocks on Wall Street yesterday, snapping the market's four-day winning streak.

The S&P 500 lost 0.6 per cent, giving back some of its gains from a day earlier. The pullback in stocks comes as many forces are pushing and pulling on markets simultaneously. Coronavirus counts are rising at a worrying degree in many countries around the world, and Johnson & Johnson said late Monday it had to temporarily pause a late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine “due to an unexplained illness in a study participant”.

Meanwhile, uncertainty about the prospects for more stimulus for the economy from Washington continues to hang over markets.

The S&P 500 fell 22.29 points to 3,511.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 157.71 points, or 0.6%, to 28,679.81. The Nasdaq composite gave up an early gain, slipping 12.36 points, or 0.1%, to 11,863.90.

Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month. Already the major stock indexes have recouped their losses from September's market swoon.

Yesterday's market slide came as the third-quarter earnings reporting season got underway. Investors will be looking for some measure of clarity over the next several weeks as CEOs line up to report how their companies fared during the summer. Wall Street is expecting another sharp drop in profits for the third quarter, nearly 21 per cent for S&P 500 earnings per share from a year earlier. But if that proves correct, it would not be as bad as the nearly 32 per cent plunge for the spring, according to FactSet.

Several companies kicked the season off on yesterday with better-than-expected reports. JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Citigroup and BlackRock all reported stronger results for the summer than analysts had forecast.

Their stocks, though, closed mixed. BlackRock rose 3.9 per cent, while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup gave up initial gains and fell 1.6 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively. Johnson & Johnson dropped 2.3 per cent and Eli Lilly fell 2.9 per cent.

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