Nasdaq, S&P 500 crawl higher on Amazon, Apple boost

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged higher on Tuesday, led by a bounce in shares of Amazon.com and Apple, while uncertainty over more U.S. fiscal stimulus kept trading in Dow constituents muted.

The U.S. flag is seen outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O jumped 2.2% after Bernstein upgraded its stock to “outperform”, saying the company will continue to receive a boost from premium subscribers and third-party merchants even beyond the pandemic.

Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, Apple Inc AAPL.O, Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O and Facebook Inc FB.O, which together fuelled a Wall Street rally since a coronavirus-driven crash in March, rose between 0.3% and 0.9% in early deals.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were trading higher, with real estate .SPLRCR and consumer discretionary .SPLRCD leading gains.

“Today is sort of a reassessment day when investors are going to assess whether this pullback has further to go on the downside,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA in New York.

U.S. stocks started the week on the back foot as fears about a new round of lockdowns in Europe and a stalemate in Congress over the size and shape of another coronavirus-response bill dented hopes of a swift economic recovery.

The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX ended just under 9% down from its record high on Sept. 2, floating above correction territory.

Investors are now bracing for an extended period of market volatility on concerns over growing political uncertainty in Washington that have been sharpened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Between now and the (Nov. 3 presidential) election there will be a lot of uncertainty. You will see a lot of volatility, a lot of short-term trades,” Stovall said.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday will make the first of three appearances on Capitol Hill this week to address lawmakers’ questions and concerns about the raft of emergency measures the central bank has taken to help support the economy during the pandemic.

At 10:08 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 11.07 points, or 0.04%, at 27,136.63, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.47 points, or 0.26%, at 3,289.53, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 28.53 points, or 0.26%, at 10,807.33.

Tesla Inc TSLA.O fell 4.4% after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk warned about the difficulties of speeding up production as an expert cautioned the carmaker’s increased reliance on large-scale aluminium parts could bring new manufacturing challenges.

Autozone Inc AZO.N rose 1.3% after the auto parts retailer reported better-than-expected sales and profit for the fourth quarter.

Oracle Corp ORCL.N shed 1.2% on report that Beijing was unlikely to approve a proposed deal by the software maker and Walmart WMT.N for ByteDance’s TikTok.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1.21-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.35-to-1 on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 18 new lows.

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