US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow fall as jobless claims rise; megacaps boost Nasdaq

Reuters

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    * Weekly jobless claims hit two-month high
    * Biogen up on raising full-year revenue forecast
    * Southwest Airlines leads declines among carriers
    * Indexes: Dow down 0.18%, S&P down 0.04%, Nasdaq up 0.17%

 (Updates to open, adds comments)
    By Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal
    July 22 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow indexes fell on
Thursday after data showed weekly jobless claims hit a two-month
high, while a rise in megacap growth stocks offered some support
to the technology-heavy Nasdaq.
    The Labor Department's report showed the number of Americans
filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 51,000
to a seasonally adjusted 419,000 in the week ended July 17.
    Still, the number likely does not suggest a material shift
in labor market conditions, with another month of strong job
growth expected in July.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OX1Y5
    "One data point isn't a trend, and a one-off can probably be
chalked up to Delta variant concerns. If jobs data doesn't
inflect soon, the markets and the Fed will be put on notice,"
said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer at Cornerstone
Wealth.
    Investors have been closely following the health of the jobs
market on which the Federal Reserve's monetary policy hinges,
especially after a series of higher inflation reading recently
sparked fears about a sooner-than expected paring of policy
support as the economy reopens.
    A shift in attention to corporate earnings and the so-called
value stocks have helped Wall Street recoup most of its declines
from earlier in the week that were triggered by concerns about
the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.    
    "The market is realizing that it's very unlikely that this
variant is going to have a similar outcome to the original
pandemic," said Tom Mantione, managing director at UBS Private
Wealth Management in Stamford, CT.
    Economically sensitive S&P 500 sectors declined in early
trading, with energy  .SPNY  dropping 1.2% after rising in the
last two sessions. The S&P 500 technology  .SPLRCI  sector was
the biggest gainer among the 11 major sector indexes.
    Second-quarter earnings are expected to grow 75% for S&P 500
companies, according to Refinitiv IBES estimates. So far, 88% of
the 73 companies in the benchmark index  .SPX  that reported
results for the quarter beat consensus expectations.
    Drugmaker Biogen Inc  BIIB.O  gained 0.8% on raising its
full-year revenue expectations.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OY21O  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OY23V
    Southwest Airlines Co  LUV.N  fell 3.3% after it posted a
bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, pushing the S&P 1500
Airlines index  .SPCOMAIR  down 2.1%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX385
    American Airlines Group Inc  AAL.O  reported a quarterly
profit, but its shares fell 1.9%  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OY1XB
    At 10:00 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  was
down 62.20 points, or 0.18%, at 34,735.80 and the S&P 500  .SPX 
was down 1.53 points, or 0.04%, at 4,357.16, 
    The Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  was up 24.87 points, or 0.17%,
at 14,656.83, boosted by Apple Inc  AAPL.O , Amazon.com
 AMZN.O , Facebook Inc  FB.O , Google-owner Alphabet Inc
 GOOGL.O  and Microsoft Corp  MSFT.O .
    Intel Corp  INTC.O  edged higher ahead of its quarterly
results after markets close on Thursday.
    Texas Instruments Inc  TXN.O  fell 4.7% after a downbeat
current-quarter revenue forecast amid concerns about the
chipmaker's ability to meet searing demand in the face of a
global shortage.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX3CJ
    CXS Corp  CSX.O  gained 3.9% as brokerages raised their
price targets on the U.S. railroad operator's shares after it
posted upbeat second-quarter revenue.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX3GM
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.10-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and for a 2.21-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 42 new highs and 12 new lows.

 (Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru;
Editing by Maju Samuel)
 ((Devik.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780;
outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2062; ;))

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