S&P 500, Dow drop from peaks as China data sours mood By Reuters

© Reuters. 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

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – The Dow and the slipped from record highs on Monday as glum data from China sparked fears of slowing global growth and hurt shares of sectors that are closely linked to the health of the U.S. economy.

The data showed that retail sales, industrial production and urban investment in China all missed forecasts, pointing to the impact of the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus and knocking down prices of oil and other commodities.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors declined in early trading. Energy and materials shares were the top laggards, down 2.6% and 1.3% respectively.

Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:), the world’s largest publicly traded producer, lost 4.5%.

Interest rate-sensitive banking stocks fell 2.2%, tracking U.S. Treasury yields lower. [US/]

“The expectation is that Delta could be slowing things down … the concern is how much more, not only in China but also around the globe, could be affected by the Delta variant and that is still yet to be decided,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus variant has clouded market sentiment recently, with a survey last week showing U.S. consumer sentiment dropped sharply in early August to its lowest level in a decade.

Coronavirus cases in the United States rose by at least 37,024 on Sunday to a total of 36.85 million, according to a Reuters tally.

Travel stocks were under pressure, with the S&P 1500 airlines and hotels and restaurant & leisure indexes down 2.3% and 1.2% after gaining earlier this year on hopes of a rebound in travel.

At 9:59 a.m. ET, the was down 264.26 points, or 0.74%, at 35,251.12, the S&P 500 was down 26.38 points, or 0.59%, at 4,441.62, and the was down 117.42 points, or 0.79%, at 14,705.47.

U.S. stocks managed to grind to new highs over the past few sessions as investor confidence in a recovery was bolstered by a strong earnings season, the passage of a large infrastructure bill and data showing inflation was rising at a slower pace than feared.

The S&P 500 value index, which houses stocks that stand to benefit the most from an economic rebound, and its tech-heavy growth counterpart have gained 1.1% each so far in August.

Earnings reports from companies including Target Corp (NYSE:), Walmart (NYSE:) Inc, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:), Robinhood Markets Inc (NASDAQ:), Nvidia (NASDAQ:) Corp and Macy’s Inc (NYSE:) are due later this week.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group (NYSE:) fell 5.4% ahead of its results after market close as Soros Fund Management dissolved its stake in the Chinese music platform.

Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc slid 3.6% after U.S. auto safety regulators opened a formal safety probe into the electric-car maker’s driver assistance system Autopilot after a series of crashes involving emergency vehicles.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.38-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 4.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 142 new lows.

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