Wall Street edged lower on Thursday in choppy trading as losses in Apple Inc and energy companies dampened the bullish resolve of the major indexes that had rallied in the previous session to its best in a week.
Apple weighed the most on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, shedding 0.4%, a day after surging 3.8%, while the energy sector fell 1.6%, tracking lower oil prices on fears of a slowdown in demand.
"It is really just a reflection of the strong gains that we had yesterday and so the market is digesting that," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth Management.
After a dull start to August, the markets had roared back to life on Wednesday on a boost from a slew of strong results from companies including PayPal Inc and CVS Health.
The benchmark index has gained nearly 13.8% from its mid-June lows, but is still in a bear market and down 13% for the year.
The second-quarter earnings season has helped markets bounce back from concerns around the fallout of the Ukraine war, soaring inflation, flare-up in China COVID-19 cases and an aggressive rise in borrowing costs.
While an unexpected rebound in July services activity allayed recessions fears, market participants are now keeping a close eye on data related to the labor market.
The July employment report, due on Friday, is expected to show nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 250,000 jobs in last month after rising by 372,000 in June. The data is crucial as the U.S. Federal Reserve attempts to cool labor demand to tame inflation.
"Investors are aware that we are in a soft landing for the economy... what will shake up the market is if we end up seeing substantial cuts in growth expectations, meaning if we end up with a lot of companies that are actually just getting rid of employees that could be a problem," Sam Stovall, Chief Investment Strategist at CFRA said.
A media report overnight said Walmart Inc was cutting hundreds of corporate roles in a restructuring effort.
At 10:20 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 97.65 points, or 0.30%, at 32,714.85, the S&P 500 was down 8.51 points, or 0.20%, at 4,146.66, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 8.23 points, or 0.06%, at 12,659.93.
Tesla Inc rose 0.7% ahead of an investor vote on a variety of matters including a three-for-one stock split that would make the company's shares more accessible.
Health insurer Cigna Corp gained 3.7% after raising its annual profit forecast.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co slipped 2.9% as its cut annual profit view for the second time.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded one new 52-week highs and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 28 new highs and 14 new lows.
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