Wall Street steadies itself, halting four-day losing streak

Wall Street steadies itself, halting four-day losing streak

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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Stocks on Wall Street shrugged off an early slide and closed higher yesterday, halting the first four-day losing streak since the market was selling off in the early days of the pandemic.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.1 per cent, led by solid gains in technology and communications stocks, and companies that rely on consumer spending. Banks, health care and energy stocks closed lower. Homebuilders surged following a report showing US home sales jumped in August to their highest level since 2006.

The gains helped the market recover some of its losses a day after stocks tumbled amid a raft of worries about the pandemic and governments' response to it.

Yesterday's market rebound has been the exception this month. Wall Street has suddenly lost momentum in September following months of powerful gains that returned the S&P 500 to a record. The benchmark S&P 500 index is down 5.3 per cent so far this month, while the Nasdaq is off nearly sevenper cent. A long list of concerns for investors has caused big swings in the market, from worries that stocks have grown too expensive to frustration about Congress' refusal so far to deliver more aid to the struggling economy.

Among other concerns for investors are rising tensions between the United States and China, which could lead to a Chinese retaliation against US tech companies, as well as the upcoming US elections and all the changes in tax policy and regulations they can create.

Big Tech stocks have lost momentum this month on worries their stocks grew too expensive following a supersonic run through the pandemic. Apple, Amazon and others have benefited from the pandemic because it's accelerated work-from-home and other trends that boost their profits.

Tech stocks added to their gains yesterday after a late-afternoon turnaround a day earlier. Apple gained 1.6 per cent while Microsoft rose 2.4 per cent. Amazon climbed 5.7 per cent.

Traders also bid up shares in homebuilders after the National Association of Realtors said that sales of previously occupied US homes rose 2.4 per cent in August to their highest level since 2006. Sales are up 10.5 per cent from a year ago and back to pre-COVID-19 levels of early 2020.

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