S&P 500 Struggles for Direction as Weaker Data Stokes Growth Worries

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S&P 500 Struggles for Direction as Weaker Data Stokes Growth Worries
Credit: © Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com -- The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses on Tuesday, as investors weighed up data showing fresh signs of a slowing economy and mostly positive quarterly results from retailers.

S&P 500 fell 0.01%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.4%, or 124 points, the Nasdaq was up 0.4%.

Manufacturing and services activity dropped in August, with the latter falling further into contraction with a reading of 44.1, stoking fresh worries of a slowing economy.

Treasury yields paused their recent ascent following the data, supporting a recovery in tech, with chip stocks in particular tacking on gains.

ON Semiconductor (NASDAQ: ON ), Wolfspeed (NYSE: WOLF ), NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA ) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ: AMD ) led the move higher in the broader chip sector amid signs of improving sentiment in demand.  

UBS pointed to slowing rate of decline in price of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards as the recent rebound in cryptocurrencies supports demand from GPU miners.

Elsewhere in tech, Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM ) plunged nearly 16% after slashing full-year guidance following mixed quarterly results as the videoconferencing software company struggles with increased competition and waning demand seen during the pandemic.

Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW ) jumped more than 15% after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street estimates, led by a surge in billings amid growing cybersecurity demand. 

A surge in energy stocks helped the broader market steady as oil prices climbed more than 3% after Saudi Arabia touted the prospect of production cuts by major oil producers to boost prices.

The remarks from the Saudi Energy Minister bin Salman possibly signal that Saudi Arabia is preparing for the prospect of the U.S. agreeing to a “renewal of the nuclear agreement with Iran, thereby allowing the latter to return to the oil market,” Commerzbank said in a note.

On the earnings front, investors digested mostly positive quarterly results from retailers, with Macy’s in the spotlight.

Macy’s (NYSE: M ) jumped more than 3% after reporting better-than-expected second-quarter results , though a slowing economy forced the retailer to trim its full-year guidance.

Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS ) lifted its full-year outlook after reporting second-quarter results that beat on both the top and bottom lines.

In other news, Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD ) was up nearly 1% after its subsidiary HBO's launch of House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, racked up nearly 10 million views on its debut.

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