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Indexes slip with tech-related shares; consumer sentiment drops

  • U.S. consumer sentiment drops to six-month low in May
  • News Corp beats quarterly profit estimates
  • Indexes: Dow down 0.03%, S&P 500 down 0.2%, Nasdaq down 0.4%

May 12 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks ended slightly lower on Friday, led by weaker megacap shares following their recent rally, as data showed U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to a six-month low.

The Dow was barely lower in its fifth straight day of declines, the blue-chip index’s longest losing streak in two months.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) shares fell 2.3% after jumping more than 2% on Thursday, when its CEO Elon Musk announced he had found a new chief executive for Twitter. On Friday he tweeted that the job went to former NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino.

The S&P 500 technology sector (.SPLRCT) was down 0.2%, while the consumer discretionary index (.SPLRCD) fell 0.9%.

Shares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, along with Tesla. The technology index is still up about 22% so far this year.

“They’ve had an incredible run, so those valuation concerns are starting to manifest themselves,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“To their credit, they have strong balance sheets, they had decent first quarters, so their businesses seem to be holding up, but there comes a point where valuations do matter.”

May consumer sentiment dropped to its lowest since November as a standoff to raise the federal government’s borrowing cap added to worries about the economic outlook.

Investors are concerned that the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes could push the economy into recession. Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said Friday the Fed will probably need to raise rates further if inflation stays high.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 11, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 8.89 points, or 0.03%, to 33,300.62; the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 6.54 points, or 0.16%, to 4,124.08; and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 43.76 points, or 0.35%, to 12,284.74.

S&P 500 utilities and consumer staples (.SPLRCS) were the leading sectors, both rising 0.4%.

For the week, the Dow was down 1.1%, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

The Congressional Budget Office said on Friday the U.S. faces a “significant risk” of defaulting on payment obligations within the first two weeks of June without a debt ceiling increase.

Among Friday’s gainers, News Corp (NWSA.O) shares rallied 8.5% after the media conglomerate beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit.

First Solar Inc (FSLR.O) shares jumped 26.5% after the solar panel maker acquired Sweden’s thin-film solar cell technology firm Evolar AB.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.33 billion shares, compared with the 10.65 billion full-session average over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.46-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.49-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and 15 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 60 new highs and 239 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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