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Wall Street trades flat as stimulus rally cools; Intel shines

PTI     January 13, 2021

Wall Street's main indexes slipped on Wednesday as investors digested a recent run to record highs on hopes of new fiscal package and vaccine rollouts for the coronavirus-ravaged economy, while Intel shares jumped on executive change.

The chipmaker said it would replace Chief Executive Officer Bob Swan with VMware Inc CEO Pat Gelsinger next month. Its shares gained 7.5% to touch a six-month high.

Shares of VMware slumped 5.5%.

Expectations of a hefty COVID-19 relief package under the incoming Joe Biden administration and hopes of a rebound in corporate earnings this year have eclipsed concerns over signs that the labor market recovery has stalled amid rampant COVID-19 infections.

"The market has discounted the rise in (COVID-19) cases and is really focused on what things look like in the second half of 2021, when vaccines have been widely distributed and the more impaired sectors of the economy are up and running again," said Dan Eye, head of asset allocation and equity research at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Valuations are stretched in a lot of segments within tech and growth. But that's not the case with a lot of value sectors such as financials, energy ... things are set up very well for continuation of the rotation into value."

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors rose in early trading with real estate and utilities up more than 0.5%.

Investors are watching events in Washington, where the U.S. House of Representatives gathered to consider impeaching President Donald Trump for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday said that concerns about continued violence pose a risk, but the transition to a new administration on Jan. 20 and a likely accelerating vaccine rollout have left them optimistic.

The new Senate will take up further COVID-19 relief legislation as soon as Democrats take control of the chamber, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer assured on Tuesday.

At 10:08 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41.68 points, or 0.13%, to 31,027.01, the S&P 500 lost 4.88 points, or 0.13%, to 3,796.31 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.57 points, or 0.01%, to 13,073.19.

Earnings reports from big U.S. banks including JPMorgan and Citigroup will mark the unofficial start to the fourth-quarter earnings season later this week. Investors will gauge remarks from executives for clues on corporate America's health.

General Motors Co added another 2% on top of Tuesday's 6% jump after the automaker announced its entry into the growing electric delivery vehicle business.

Exxon Mobil Corp rose 0.3% after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to "overweight", saying cuts in capital spending had put the oil major on track for a stronger performance.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals climbed 1.5% as the U.S. government said it would buy 1.25 million additional doses of the company's COVID-19 antibody cocktail for about $2.63 billion.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.2-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 33 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 262 new highs and four new lows.

Also read: COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Adar Poonawalla says vaccine will be sold to private players at Rs 1,000 per dose

Also read: No option to choose preferred coronavirus vaccine, says Health Ministry


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