Slowdown: US stocks end mixed as investors turn on tech

The promise of a COVID-19 vaccine returning the United States economy to health continued to prompt investors to sell shares in companies that have benefitted the most from the pandemic.

It was a mixed finish for Wall Street on Tuesday as investors continued to sell tech shares in anticipation of a potential COVID-19 vaccine game-changer [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]
It was a mixed finish for Wall Street on Tuesday as investors continued to sell tech shares in anticipation of a potential COVID-19 vaccine game-changer [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]

Wall Street’s main stock indexes finished mixed on Tuesday as the rally sparked on Monday by positive trial results from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine extended a shift away from tech shares. But the prospect of a “dark winter” weighed on investors’ sentiments.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 262 points or 0.90 percent to finish the session at 29,420.92.

The broader S&P 500 – which weights stocks by their market value as opposed to their price – finished the session down 0.14 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index extended its losses from Monday to close down 1.37 percent.

Tech selloffs weighed on both indexes.

The Dow and S&P hit new records during Monday’s session after Pfizer said late-stage trial data for the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech showed it to be more than 90 percent effective.

That triggered a move out of technology and other shares that have benefitted most from shifting consumer and work habits during the pandemic and into beaten-down sectors like travel and leisure.

While that shift continued on Tuesday, momentum proved fickle as Americans from coast to coast prepare themselves for the flu- and cold-heavy winter months. Millions of unemployed workers are struggling as the jobs recovery stalls and Washington’s stimulus deadlock persists.

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday described the Pfizer development as “positive news” while urging Americans to remain vigilant and keep wearing masks.

“It’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come,” Biden said during a news conference on Monday. “We’re still facing a very dark winter.”

Shares of Pfizer gave back some of Monday’s gains to finish Tuesday’s down 1.32 percent.

 

A woman gets a flu vaccine during the global outbreak of the coronavirus in East Los Angeles, California, the United States [File: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]

Shares of Amazon closed down 3.45 percent after European watchdogs slapped the tech titan with antitrust charges. The European Union is accusing Amazon of using its size and power to stifle the growth of smaller merchants that sell on its platform.

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc lost 16.93 percent on Tuesday after it reported a surprise slowdown in sales of its plant-based burger patties and sausages.

The faux meat maker’s shares surged nearly 90 percent over the last year as companies rushed to join the health bandwagon and Americans stocked up on food during the pandemic’s peak. But COVID-19 restrictions also cut into sales at restaurants and fast-food chains.

Source: Al Jazeera

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