S&P 500 dips, as healthcare weighs; Dow ends higher

FILE PHOTO: A Wall St. sign is seen near the NYSE in New York

By Lewis Krauskopf, Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 dipped on Tuesday, with declines in healthcare and tech shares countered by energy and financial gains, as investors weighed the latest U.S. economic data for signs of a rebound and rising inflation.

The S&P 500 financial sector hit a record high, while expected growth in fuel demand boosted oil prices and helped lift the energy sector 3.9%, its biggest one-day gain in nearly four months. The heavyweight tech sector fell while the healthcare sector was dragged down by a weak profit forecast from Abbott Laboratories.

Data showed U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in May as pent-up demand in a reopening economy boosted orders. But unfinished work piled up because of shortages of raw materials and labor.

“People came back from a holiday weekend convinced that the economy is recovering nicely and that any inflation that we might be seeing in labor and other costs is temporary,” Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45.86 points, or 0.13%, to 34,575.31; the S&P 500 lost 2.07 points, or 0.05%, at 4,202.04; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.26 points, or 0.09%, to 13,736.48.

Along with sharp gains for financials and energy, the small-cap Russell 2000 rose 1.1% on Tuesday, underscoring strength for segments of the stock market expected to do particularly well in an expanding economy.

While the S&P 500 remains less than 1% of its record high after four straight months of gains, investors are worried about whether rising inflation could hit equity prices.

“We have supply chain issues, delays, price increases, pricing pressures in general, we have got employers saying they have got difficulty sourcing labor,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco in New York.

“So this is a microcosm of what we are already hearing about and seeing in the overall economy and it’s just a reminder that inflation remains a concern.”

Stock markets on Friday brushed off a surge in key inflation readings for April following reassurances from Federal Reserve officials that the central bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy would remain in place.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari and Fed Vice Chair for supervision Randal Quarles on Tuesday reiterated the view that higher prices would be transitory.

This week’s focus will be on a raft of economic data, culminating with U.S. payrolls due on Friday.

Abbott Labs shares fell 9.3% after the company cut its full-year 2021 profit forecast, citing expectations for a sharp decline in revenue from its COVID-19 tests as more Americans get vaccinated. Shares of other test makers also fell.

Cloudera Inc shares jumped 23.9% after private equity firms KKR & Co and Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC agreed to take the data analytics firm private.

A group of “meme stocks” extended gains from the previous week, with shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc up 22.7% after the movie theater chain said it sold $230 million of its stock.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.54-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.79-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 73 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 168 new highs and 25 new lows.

About 10.7 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 10.5 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Maju Samuel and Richard Chang)