S&P 500, Nasdaq weighed down by inflation worries after upbeat data


FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

June 3, 2021

By Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 dipped on Thursday as a raft of upbeat data fanned fears of rising inflation, eclipsing reports that President Joe Biden has offered to scrap his proposed corporate tax hike.

Major stock indexes pared losses, with the Dow rising 0.1% after reports of the major concession by the Democratic president. Biden’s offer came amid talks with Republicans on an infrastructure package, a source familiar with the matter said.

“The tax structure now has gone from headwind to a tailwind,” said Rob Sechan, managing partner and co-founder of NewEdge Wealth.

A better-than-expected U.S. weekly unemployment report and private payrolls numbers for May pointed to strengthening conditions in the labor market, while a measure of service sector activity increased to a record high, pointing to a robust economic rebound.

The strong data could force the Federal Reserve to pare back its crisis support sooner than expected, despite central bank officials’ reassurances to the contrary.

“The robust jobs data provides a challenge to the inflation narrative as better jobs result in higher spending which would further contribute to the inflationary trends,” said Sean O’hara, president of Pacer ETFs.

Adding to fears over easing support was the Fed’s announcement on Wednesday that it will wind down its emergency corporate credit facility.

Analysts at Bank of America cautioned that the news is “very negative for risk assets” and said the U.S. central bank is closer to normalizing monetary policy than markets expect.

Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet were among the biggest drags on the benchmark S&P 500 as the high-growth stocks, whose future cash flows are discounted when interest rates are higher, fell.

Banks and energy stocks, which track an improving economic outlook, added 0.7% and 0.5%. At 12:04 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 32.85 points, or 0.09%, at 34,633.23, the S&P 500 was down 9.44 points, or 0.22%, at 4,198.68, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 118.49 points, or 0.86%, at 13,637.84.

Shares of AMC Entertainment reversed their sharp gains to fall 22.7% after the company launched its second share issue in three days.

FireEye Inc dropped 15.4% after the cybersecurity firm said it would sell its products business, including the FireEye name, to a consortium led by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group for $1.2 billion in cash.

In a bright spot was General Motors Co, up 5.7%, as the carmaker expects first-half 2021 financial results to be significantly better than its forecast as semiconductor chip deliveries pick up in the second quarter. Rival Ford added 6.1%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.73-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.79-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and 21 new lows.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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