US STOCKS-Wall St dips, still headed for second straight weekly rise

By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan

Feb 12 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes eased on Friday ahead of a long weekend, as investors digested recent gains driven by stimulus bets and accelerated vaccine roll outs.

Heavyweights Apple Inc, Tesla Inc and Inc were among the major kontol gede drags on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Large-cap growth stocks underperformed value stocks as investors favored names likely to benefit from a reopened economy.

Still, all three major U.S.stock indexes were on course for their second straight weekly rise, as a sharp drop in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations also buoyed hopes of life eventually returning to normal.

The Lipper data late on Thursday showed U.S.-based stock funds attracted $22.9 billion in the week to Wednesday, the largest weekly inflow since March 2008.

U.S.stock markets will be closed on Monday on account of George Washington’s Birthday.

“There seems to be a pause in the negotiations for the stimulus so that kind of takes a lot of air out of the room,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

“It’s going to be a long weekend and … there is just less interest in buying more.”

U.S.President Joe Biden will meet with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors on Friday as he continues to push for approval of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.

A Reuters poll showed the U.S. economy is expected to reach pre-COVID-19 levels within a year as the proposed $1.9 trillion fiscal package helps boost economic activity, but it’s likely to take over a year for unemployment to fall to early 2020 levels.

Latest data showed U.S.consumer sentiment unexpectedly fell in early February as households remained worried about the economy, despite expectations for additional fiscal stimulus.

With the markets near historic highs, many analysts have cautioned of a near-term pullback, with new coronavirus variants and bumps in vaccine distribution posing as threats.

At 10:10 a.m.ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.68 points, or 0.12%, to 31,394.36, the S&P 500 lost 1.23 points, or 0.03%, to 3,915.15 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 19.47 points, or 0.14%, to 14,006.31.

Economy-linked bank stocks jumped about 1.5%, while energy, materials and industrials also advanced.

Largely upbeat earnings update have also supported market sentiment.About 82% of 355 S&P 500 firms have topped analysts’ estimated for fourth-quarter profit, well above the average beat rate of 76% over the past four quarters, per Refinitiv data.

Walt Disney Co reported a surprise quarterly profit. However, its shares fell 1.5%.after a more than 13% run up to its results over the last two weeks.

PayPal Holdings Inc rose about 3% as several brokerages raised price targets on the stock a day after the payments company’s investor day call.

Dating app operator Bumble Inc gained 13%, a day after a stellar debut sent its shares up more than 75%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE matched them on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 180 new highs and 14 new lows.(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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