Wall Street pares losses on positive economic data, tech recovery

Wall Street pares losses on positive economic data, tech recovery
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NEW YORK/BENGALURU (Nov 24): The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, as positive labour and consumer data boosted economically sensitive sectors, while major technology shares bounced back from two days of steep losses.

Most heavyweight technology stocks pared early losses and traded higher by midday, with the S&P tech sector up 0.2%. Rising Treasury yields had seen the sector dive around 3% this week.

The S&P consumer discretionary sector rose 0.4%, while the retail index added about 0.3% after data showed US consumer spending increased more than expected in October.

The so-called core PCE price index, which is the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure, also accelerated in October.

Another data set showed weekly jobless claims fell and third-quarter GDP was revised higher, while a University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment improved in November.

"The combination of rising rates and a strong economy bodes well for cyclicals, companies that are tied to the global economy and at the same time reduces the valuation of technology," said Eric Diton, managing director of investment advisory firm the Wealth Alliance in New York.

But weak results from department store operator Nordstrom Inc and apparel retailer Gap Inc somewhat dampened sentiment, as both firms flagged supply chain issues ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season.

Nordstrom and Gap plunged 28.8% and 22.1% respectively.

Focus is now on minutes of the Fed's Nov. 2-3 meeting, due later in the day, for clues on the pace at which the central bank intends to taper Covid-era stimulus measures. Fed officials had agreed at the meeting to begin scaling back monthly asset purchases.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said she could see the argument for accelerating the pace of the central bank's taper, especially if inflation remains elevated and jobs growth stays strong.

"The bottom line is when you have a limited supply and you have incredible record demand, the only solution is rising prices. The great news is that this is not going to go on forever," the Wealth Alliance's Diton added.

Low trading volumes this week ahead of the market holiday on Thursday and a shortened session on Friday have kept volatility high.

At 11:50 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 78.33 points or 0.22% at 35,735.47 and the S&P 500 was up 1.90 points or 0.04% at 4,692.60. The Nasdaq Composite was up 37.22 points or 0.24% at 15,812.36.

Among other stocks, Tesla Inc rose 0.9%. CEO Elon Musk sold another 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker worth US$1.05 billion, after exercising options to buy 2.15 million shares.

Shares of PC makers HP Inc and Dell Technologies jumped 9.3% and 5.1% respectively, after they logged a more than four-fold rise in quarterly profits amid increasing demand for personal computers.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.07-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 21 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 38 new highs and 214 new lows.