Roundup: U.S. equities post 3rd straight weekly loss amid tech struggle, Fed decision

  • World
  • Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major averages declined for a third straight week as investors continued to dump some tech-related shares while digesting the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest decision on monetary policy.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow was down 0.03 percent, the S&P 500 slid 0.64 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 0.56 percent.

The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly gain of 0.8 percent.

It was another wild week on Wall Street as tech sell-off continued.

The S&P 500 tech sector decreased more than 1 percent week to date, following a 4.4-percent slump in the prior week.

"Volatility has arrived and with it comes many fears and unknowns," Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Saturday.

"With the election fast approaching and uncertainty about the growth trajectory of the U.S. economy, I expect volatility to continue apace in the coming months," Zacks said, adding investors are recommended to stick to the hard data and key fundamentals in order to navigate the turbulent time.

The Fed's September meeting was a major focus for investors during the week.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday held its benchmark interest rate steady at the record-low level of near zero and promised to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have improved to reach maximum employment and inflation has picked up to its desirable level.

"Economic activity and employment have picked up in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year," the Fed said in a statement after concluding a two-day policy meeting.

"Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation," the Fed said, noting "the ongoing public health crisis will continue to weigh on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term."

The Fed slashed interest rates to near zero earlier this year in an effort to support the economy amid the pandemic shock.

On the economic front, the Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the United States increased 1.2 percent in August to 106.5, following a 2.0 percent increase in July, New York-based The Conference Board reported on Friday.

"While the U.S. LEI increased again in August, the slowing pace of improvement suggests that this summer's economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020," Ataman Ozyildirim, analyst at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

"Despite the improvement, the LEI remains in recession territory, still 4.7 percent below its February level," Ozyildirim added.

U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 860,000 in the week ending Sept. 12, following an upwardly revised level of 893,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. The reading slightly exceeded the median economist estimate of 850,000 compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. retail sales registered 537.5 billion U.S. dollars in August, an increase of 0.6 percent from the previous month, the Department of Commerce reported on Wednesday. The reading fell short of market consensus.

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