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US STOCKS-Nasdaq, S&P 500 slip as COVID-19 vaccine makers fall

Stock MarketsMay 06, 2021 22:30
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© Reuters.

* Weekly jobless claims fall more than expected
* Pharma slides as Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine IP waiver
* ViacomCBS rises on beating quarterly revenue estimates
* Indexes: S&P off 0.09%, Nasdaq down 0.46%, Dow up 0.19%

(Updates prices to open, adds comments)
By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar
May 6 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 slipped on
Thursday as vaccine makers fell after President Joe Biden
announced plans to back intellectual property waivers on
COVID-19 shots, but losses were capped by an upbeat jobless
claims report.
Shares in Pfizer Inc PFE.N , Moderna Inc MRNA.O , Johnson
& Johnson JNJ.N and Novavax Inc NVAX.O , all involved in the
making of COVID-19 vaccines, fell between 0.2% and 9.3%.
The declines were triggered after Biden said he had backed a
World Trade Organization waiver for vaccine intellectual
property to enhance the fight against the pandemic. The S&P 500 healthcare sector .SPXHC slipped 0.5%, while
the Nasdaq Biotechnology index .NBI dropped 1.3%.
Moderna also raised its 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19
vaccine, reflecting demand from countries looking to return to
normalcy through rapid inoculation. "It could clearly reduce potential revenues some of these
firms were expecting to generate from licensing their patents,"
said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
Shares of highly valued technology-related stocks like
Microsoft Corp MSFT.O , Apple Inc AAPL.O , Alphabet Inc
GOOGL.O and Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O were trading flat to
lower.
The S&P 500 technology sector .SPLRCT fell 0.4%, while the
Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index .SOX dropped 0.6%.
A Labor Department report showed fewer Americans filed new
claims for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market's
recovery gains steam amid an economic boom.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a
seasonally adjusted 498,000 for the week ended May 1 compared to
590,000 in the prior week.
Investors are awaiting more comprehensive non-farm payrolls
data on Friday to get clues on strength of the labor market and
potentially the U.S. Federal Reserve's stance on monetary
policy.
"Today's read is another proof point that we're one step
closer to full economic recovery, sooner than some may have
expected," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment
strategy at E*TRADE Financial.
"So as we see some serious momentum building on the jobs
front, all eyes will be on how this plays into action taken by
the Fed, if any."
At 9:56 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was
up 63.84 points, or 0.19%, at 34,294.18, the S&P 500 .SPX was
down 3.95 points, or 0.09%, at 4,163.64 and the Nasdaq Composite
.IXIC was down 62.12 points, or 0.46%, at 13,520.30.
Among other stocks, ViacomCBS Inc VIACA.O rose 1.4% after
reporting quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street estimates.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O rose 1.1% after the
drugmaker reported a 78% rise in first-quarter profit, helped by
a robust recovery in demand for its eye drug Eylea. Uber Technologies Inc UBER.N fell 5.5% as it signaled it
would pay drivers more to get cars back on the road and
disclosed a $600 million charge to provide UK drivers with
benefits. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.03-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and for a 1.95-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 81 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 68 new highs and 58 new lows.

US STOCKS-Nasdaq, S&P 500 slip as COVID-19 vaccine makers fall
 

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