US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow dip on concerns over rising COVID-19 infections

Reuters

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    * Pfizer up on plans to submit U.S. EUA for COVID-19 vaccine
    * Ross Stores gains after results
    * Dow down 0.3%, S&P falls 0.1%, Nasdaq up 0.2%

 (Adds comment, details; Updates prices)
    By Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow slipped on Friday
with a surge in coronavirus cases threatening to derail a
fragile economic recovery, even as plans were announced for
ending several of the Federal Reserve's economic support
programs.
    The Nasdaq edged 0.2% higher, boosted by a rise in shares of
stay-at-home darlings Zoom Video Communications Inc  ZM.O  and
Amazon.com Inc  AMZN.O .
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday defended
his decision to end several of the Fed's pandemic lending
programs on Dec. 31, saying Congress should use the money to
help small U.S. companies with grants instead.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I52W1
    The decision to end the programs, which were deemed
essential by the central bank, comes as data showed a rise in
jobless claims last week as new restrictions to control
spiraling COVID-19 infections likely led to a fresh wave of
layoffs.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I42FY  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I611N
    "From a psychological standpoint it (expiry of certain Fed
loan programs) could make people a little nervous," said Mike
Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility
Management.
    "But the facility that is being terminated hasn't been
utilized, so the fact that it's going away in December is not
going to have a direct impact on anything."
    Meanwhile, California and Ohio imposed nightly curfews on
Thursday, with new hospitalizations jumping nearly 50% in the
past two weeks in the United States.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I51S9
    The S&P 500 and the Dow were set for their first weekly
losses in three weeks, as investors juggled between growing
optimism over an effective coronavirus vaccine and near-term
economic damage from the surging infections.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I529H
    Hopes of a fiscal stimulus package were revived after U.S.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell decided to resume relief talks on
Thursday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I52CI
    "There is a very dangerous race occurring, which is how fast
can vaccinations start versus how fast infections are spreading
in the country," said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research
at Harvest Volatility Management.
    Major banks have upgraded their stock market forecasts for
2021 following recent promising data from COVID-19 vaccine
trials.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I33US
    At 11:34 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
fell 85.64 points, or 0.29%, to 29,397.59, the S&P 500  .SPX 
fell 4.74 points, or 0.13%, to 3,577.13 and the Nasdaq Composite
 .IXIC  gained 17.92 points, or 0.15%, to 11,922.64.
    All major S&P sectors slipped, barring utilities  .SPLRCU 
and healthcare  .SPXHC .
    Microchip Technology Inc  MCHP.O  jumped 5% after the
chipmaker's quarterly profit and revenue came in above
estimates. The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index  .SOX  gained
0.7%.
    Pfizer Inc  PFE.N  rose 1.2% as the company said it has
applied to U.S. health regulators for emergency use
authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2I62KF
    Apparel and home fashion retailer Ross Stores Inc  ROST.O 
gained 1% after its quarterly sales topped expectations.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nASA01FG1
    Declining issues matched advancing ones on the NYSE, and on
the Nasdaq a 0.7-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
    The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 132 new highs and eight new
lows.

 (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
 ((Shivani.Kumaresan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780))

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