US STOCKS-S&P, Dow dip as resilient economic data stokes fears of rate hikes

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.) *

Nvidia hits 10-month high on upbeat sales forecast *

Netflix slips on price cuts report *

Weekly jobless claims fall; GDP grows 2.7% in Q4 *

Indexes: Dow down 0.3%, S&P dips 0.02%, Nasdaq up 0.06% (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to early afternoon, adds index context)

By Johann M Cherian and David French Feb 23 (Reuters) –

Wall Street was mostly lower in choppy trading on Thursday, with the S&P 500 on track for a fifth straight daily decline and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down too, as investors remained wary of further interest rate hikes due to recent strong U.S. economic data. On a topsy-turvy day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up slightly, retreating from a session high earlier of more than 1%. Megacap stocks were mixed, with Tesla Inc up and Inc lower.

Stock markets have been volatile this month, with the S&P 500 shedding more than 4% in the past six sessions, as data pointing to a strong economy and hawkish commentary by Fed officials dented appetite for risky assets. The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, reflecting tight labor market conditions.

A separate report confirmed the economy grew solidly in the fourth quarter, though rising inventory levels were responsible for much of the increase. U.S. gross domestic product increased 2.7% in the fourth quarter, according to the government’s second estimate. Economists were forecasting a 2.9% rise.

“Any incremental piece of economic data builds the narrative of the bears in the market that the rally so far is a false euphoria, and this is weighing on the market more than the good news from some of these earnings,” said Peter Andersen, founder of Andersen Capital Management. Analysts polled by Reuters predicted a correction within the next three months even though they expect the S&P 500 to climb 5% by year-end.

Right now, the S&P is testing both the 50-day moving average at 3,980 points and the 200-day moving average at 3,940. Nvidia Corp surged 14.2% to the highest in more than 10 months after the company forecast quarterly sales above estimates and reported a surge in the use of its chips to power artificial intelligence services.

Other chipmakers also gained, including Broadcom Inc up 0.4% and Qualcomm Inc rising 0.8%. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index climbed 2.5%. At 2.06 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 97.71 points, or 0.3%, to 32,947.38, the S&P 500 lost 0.92 points, or 0.02%, to 3,990.13 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.36 points, or 0.06%, to 11,513.43.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors declined, with communication services dropping 1.1%, hurt by a 3.8% fall in Netflix Inc on reports that the streaming service was cutting subscription prices in 30 countries. The communication services index was on course for its fifth straight decline, which would be its biggest since another five-loss streak in October.

Energy was one of the few gainers, rising 1.3% on the back of higher crude prices. Should the index advance hold, it would halt a losing run at seven, tying its worst stretch since an eight-session skid in March 2017. Among other stocks, eBay Inc slid 5.8% after warning of dour demand in the first half of 2023 due to strained consumer spending in the United States and Europe.

Moderna Inc fell 8.4% after the vaccine maker reaffirmed its annual sales forecast of $5 billion for its COVID-19 vaccines despite its fourth-quarter sales exceeding estimates.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)