(Reuters) – Wall Street’s three main indexes struggled for direction on Friday as investors were nervous about a record rise in coronavirus cases nationwide further damaging Corporate America.
U.S. stock futures rose before the market opened after data showed Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir significantly improved clinical recovery and reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients in a late-stage study. Gilead’s shares rose 2%.
The United States registered the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 infections globally for the second day in a row on Thursday. About 41 of the 50 U.S. states have reported an increase in cases over the last two weeks that has forced Americans to take new precautions, with several states backpedaling on reopening plans.
“Investors are paying more attention to new case discovery than they are to the economic data and that is a pattern we’ve seen develop over the last two weeks,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
A slate of economic data, including a record monthly payrolls addition, has pointed to a revival in business activity in June, fueling the U.S. stock market’s stimulus-driven rally.
The S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March lows and stands about 8% below its record high hit in February.
Technology stocks weighed the most on the three main indexes, a day after they powered the Nasdaq to its third closing high this week.
Big bank stocks .SPXBK rose 2.2% ahead of their financial results next week, which would mark the onset of the second-quarter earnings season.
Overall profits for S&P 500 firms are expected to plunge the most since the financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
“While it will be a pretty ugly set of numbers, investors tend to look forward not backwards, and I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of companies move the needle in terms of expectations,” Hogan said.
At 10:13 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 51.32 points, or 0.20%, at 25,757.41, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 1.53 points, or 0.05%, at 3,150.52. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 43.31 points, or 0.41%, at 10,504.44.
Carnival Corp (CCL.N) gained 4% after the cruise line operator said it was planning to resume operations in a phased manner and would operate with a smaller fleet on its return.
Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) rose 3% after Goldman Sachs hiked its price target on the video streaming service’s shares.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.53-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 15 new lows.
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