Stocks on Wall Street end day with mixed finish
Dow edged lower Wednesday but the S&P 500 rose
Stocks ended up with a mixed finish on Wall Street, even as gains for technology stocks pushed the Nasdaq to another record close.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged lower Wednesday but the S&P 500 rose, a day after wrapping up its best quarter since 1998. That, however, came after its worst quarter since 2008 in the first three months of the year. The whiplash came as the economy screeched to a halt because of the coronavirus, then got loads of support from the U.S. Federal Reserve and Congress and hopes built for a relatively quick recovery.
The S&P 500 was up 0.5 per cent on Wednesday. Treasury yields and the price of oil also ticked higher following encouraging reports on the U.S. economy.
The Dow was down 77 points, or 0.3 per cent, after drifting between a gain of 206 points and a loss of 99 points. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.9 per cent. Canadian markets were closed because of Canada Day.
FedEx jumped 11.2 per cent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported better results for the latest quarter than Wall Street expected. A boom in online shopping helped drive revenue for FedEx's ground-delivery business.
Constellation Brands, which sells Corona beer, rose 6.4 per cent after it also reported stronger quarterly results than analysts had forecast. Underlining how much uncertainty is ahead, though, it joined the long list of companies that are declining to give forecasts.
Netflix rose 6.7 per cent, one of the big gainers among communication sector stocks, which have benefited as people stuck at home have been spending more time online.
Pfizer rose 3.2 per cent after it and German biotech company BioNTech announced encouraging, preliminary data on their COVID-19 vaccine Candidate.
Markets around the world roared back last quarter on hopes that economies are beginning to pull out of the severe, sudden recession that struck after governments shut down businesses in hopes of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. But a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases, particularly in the U.S. South and West, has raised doubts about whether those hopes were premature or overdone.
In the United States, a report said that the manufacturing sector returned to growth last month, a much better reading than the slight contraction that economists were expecting.
Data pointing in right direction
Earlier, a separate report that suggested private employers hired more workers than they cut in June. Payroll processor ADP also revised its previously reported numbers for May, saying that private employers actually added nearly 3.1 million jobs that month instead of cutting 2.8 million.
But the June growth in ADP's payroll report wasn't as strong as economists expected. The U.S. government's more comprehensive monthly jobs report will arrive Thursday.
In the world's third-largest economy, a quarterly Bank of Japan survey showed manufacturers' sentiment plunged to its lowest level in more than a decade, as the pandemic crushes exports and tourism.
But in the world's second-largest economy, a separate survey showed China's manufacturing activity improved in June, adding to signs of a gradual recovery. A similar survey for the 19-country eurozone showed an improvement in manufacturing in June, with the industry almost growing again after widespread shutdowns.
Analysts said that while the data pointed in the right direction, it shows that an economic recovery from the pandemic will be slow.
Markets in Asia ended the day mixed. In Europe, France's CAC 40 was down 0.2 per cent and Germany's DAX lost 0.4 per cent. The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.2 per cent.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.67 per cent from 0.65 per cent late Tuesday. It tends to move with investors' expectations for the economy and inflation.
A barrel of U.S. crude oil rose 1 per cent to $39.68 US. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 1.7 per cent to $41.99.