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US STOCKS-S&P closes lower as new COVID-19 cases surge

Stock Markets Jun 18, 2020 04:10
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(Updates to market close)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed lower on
Wednesday as news of spiking pandemic data and the prospect of a
new round of economic lockdowns dampened investor optimism over
signs of economic recovery.
The S&P 500 and the Dow reversed earlier gains and snapped a
three-day winning streak. Tech shares led the Nasdaq into the
black.
Worries over a resurgence in the pandemic's spread persist,
as new coronavirus cases hit a record level in Oklahoma just
days before President Donald Trump's expected campaign rally in
Tulsa. The numbers of new cases are rising sharply in about six
U.S. states, according to a Reuters analysis, and authorities in
Beijing have ramped up mobility restrictions in their efforts to
contain a new COVID-19 outbreak.
"There are periodic points of news flow where the positive
news will carry the market and negative news will pressure the
market," said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at
NovaPoint in Atlanta. "It's a return of health concerns versus
economic optimism."
"There's a tug of war with headlines," Sroka added.
Indeed, the indexes were up earlier in the session on news
than an inexpensive, common steroid called dexamethasone can
help save critically ill COVID-19 patients, according to a
clinical trial in Britain, a development that prompted the World
Health Organization to update its treatment guidelines.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is due to wrap up
two days of congressional testimony, during which he pledged the
central bank will use its "full range of tools" to help that
recovery along. But Powell added, "It would be a concern if
Congress were to pull back on the support that it's providing,
too quickly."
On the economic front, while housing starts increased at a
slower-than-expected pace in May, building permits saw a more
robust rebound and applications for loans to purchase homes
surged last week to a near 11-1/2-year high last week, according
to separate reports from the U.S. Commerce Department and the
Mortgage Bankers Association. Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell
177.24 points, or 0.67%, to 26,112.74, the S&P 500 .SPX lost
11.12 points, or 0.36%, to 3,113.62 and the Nasdaq Composite
.IXIC added 14.41 points, or 0.15%, to 9,910.28.
Oracle Corp ORCL.K dropped after reporting
weaker-than-expected quarterly revenues as lockdowns led its
clients to delay purchases. Travel-related companies, battered particularly hard by
shutdowns, with the S&P 1500 Airline index closing well in
negative territory.
Cruise operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd NCLH.N
extended the suspension of its voyages through September,
sending its shares sliding, along with those of peers Carnival
Corp CCL.N and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd RCL.N .
Trading in Hertz Global Holdings' HTZ.N shares were halted
as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told the bankrupt
car rental firm it has problems with its new share issuance, the
agency's Chairman Jay Clayton told CNBC.

US STOCKS-S&P closes lower as new COVID-19 cases surge
 

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