Stocks close lower on Wall Street, led by tech and banks; Netflix slumpsWednesday, April 21, 2021
Stocks fell for the second-straight day yesterday, giving up more of their recent gains as Wall Street shifts its focus on a busy week of corporate earnings reports.
The S&P 500 fell 0.7 per cent. The benchmark index has now lost nearly all its gain from last week. Apple fell 1.3 per cent as part of a broad slide in technology companies. Banks also accounted for a big share of the selling, which came as bond yields fell, reversing course after moving higher on Monday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.56 per cent from 1.60 per cent. Bank of America dropped 2.8 per cent and Citigroup slid 3.2 per cent.
Investors turned defensive, favouring utilities, real estate stocks and a mix of companies that make consumer staples like food and household products. General Mills rose 1.6 per cent and Clorox added 3 per cent.
The market has been swaying between gains and record highs to pullbacks as investors weigh solid economic growth against the risks still posed by the coronavirus pandemic. That push and pull will likely continue as vaccine distribution rolls on and various industries reopen.
“Overall, we're going to have some volatility in the market this year, but everything to me looks fairly rosy for the next six months or so,” said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs.
The S&P 500 fell 28.32 points to 4,134.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 256.33 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 33,821.30. Both the S&P 500 and Dow hit all-time highs on Friday. After shedding an early gain, the technology-heavy Nasdaq slid 128.50 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 13,786.27.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks, which has been outpacing the broader market all year, took a heavier loss, shedding 43.79 points, or two per cent, to 2,188.21.
Investors are in the middle of first-quarter earnings season. Roughly 80 members of the S&P 500 will report their results this week, as well as one out of every three members of the Dow. Wall Street will be looking to see if corporate America is recovering with the rest of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
On average, analysts expect quarterly profits across the S&P 500 to be up 24 per cent from a year earlier, according to FactSet.
While earnings are likely to drive the market's gyrations the next few weeks, investors remain concerned about whether companies are prepared to deal with the impact of higher interest rates should inflation increase, said Greg Bassuk, CEO of Axs Investments.
“One question is with rates likely continuing to rise over the months ahead, and more importantly with inflation likely to rise, whether companies are going to be able to charge more for their products to keep up with greater expenses,” Bassuk said.
United Airlines slid 8.5 per cent after reporting a loss that was wider than analysts were expecting, and drugmaker Abbott Laboratories fell 3.6 per cent after reporting revenue that fell short of forecasts.
Kansas City Southern jumped 15.2 per cent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after another Canadian railway company offered to buy the railroad for US$33.7 billion, far higher than a US$25 billion offer made by Canadian Pacific last month.
Netflix slumped 10.6 per cent in after-hours trading after the video streaming pioneer said it added four million more worldwide subscribers from January through March, its smallest gain during that three-month period in four years. That was about two million fewer than both management and analysts had predicted Netflix would add during the first quarter.
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