Stocks trade choppily after S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record intraday highs

Stocks ended at records on Friday as investors digested disappointing earnings results from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) that came during an otherwise solid quarterly reporting season from many major companies. 

The S&P 500 set record intraday and closing highs. The index posted monthly gain of more than 6.5{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in October, or its best single-month advance since November 2020. The consumer discretionary, energy and information technology sectors outperformed during the month. 

The Nasdaq also eked out a fresh record level, even as a couple of heavily weighted technology giants saw shares dip. 

Amazon shares dropped after the e-commerce juggernaut missed third-quarter expectations and forecasted a jump in expenses in the fourth quarter due to supply chain disruptions and rising costs for labor, materials and freight. These factors are expected to generate “several billion dollars of additional costs” to Amazon in the current quarter, the company said in its earnings statement. 

Peer tech giant Apple also disappointed Wall Street in its fiscal first-quarter results, with key iPhone sales missing expectations even following the launch of its latest iPhone 13 handset series. Shares of Apple’s suppliers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Broadcom (AVGO) also fell immediately following the results. 

For Wall Street, the results appeared to vindicate concerns that mounting supply chain disruptions, labor costs and materials shortages were impacting companies of all sizes heading into the holiday season, and were creating challenges for corporations to keep pace with rising demand. 

And for Apple, Amazon and some other technology companies, investors have been additionally fearful that these key members of last year’s lucrative “stay-at-home” trade would be unable to maintain lofty growth rates following a pandemic-induced surge in their businesses. Amazon’s sales grew 15{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in the third quarter, slowing down markedly from 27{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} rate in the second quarter. 

“I will agree, they are overvalued,” Rebecca Felton, Riverfront Investment Group senior market strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live about technology companies on Thursday. “But remember valuation is a condition, not a catalyst. And the catalyst I think for technology is going to be the consistency both on the top and bottom line.”

Meanwhile, investors continued to digest a mixed batch of economic data results, which included a weaker-than-expected print on third-quarter gross domestic product. The report, while comprehensive in scope, still offered an only backwards-looking view of state of the economy. Some pundits suggested economic activity had already begun to pick up, helping to underpin companies’ performance into the final months of the year and equity prices.

“I still think the best is yet to come,” Heritage Capital President Paul Schatz told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “GDP for Q3 is going to be a trough. We’re going to have much stronger growth in Q4 and Q1 of next year, inflation is going to peak in the next six months, supply chain issues strongly moderate by early Q2 of next year. And this rising tide is going to lift most ships.”

“The economically sensitive trade, whatever you want to call it — reopening, reflation, inflation — that trade is very alive, very well and it’s not over,” he added.

4:03 p.m. ET: Stocks end at records, S&P 500 posts best monthly advance since Nov. 2020

Here’s where markets closed out Friday’s session:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +8.96 (+0.19{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 4,605.38

  • Dow (^DJI): +89.01 (+0.25{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 35,819.49

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +50.27 (+0.33{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 15,498.39

2:39 p.m. ET: Microsoft overtakes Apple as most highly valued stock in the U.S. by market cap 

Microsoft (MSFT) shares jumped on Friday, sending the stock’s market capitalization above that of Apple and making it the most valuable stock in the U.S. 

The Redmond, Washington-based company was the best performer in the Dow on Friday, extending gains after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results earlier this week as its Microsoft Azure cloud unit surged in growth yet again. As of Friday afternoon, Microsoft’s market capitalization was hovering at $2.478 trillion, versus Apple’s $2.466 trillion, based on Yahoo Finance data.

12:30 p.m. ET: S&P 500, Nasdaq turn higher to jump to record intraday highs

Stocks reversed course to push into positive territory in afternoon trading, led by gains in the communication services and health-care sectors in the S&P 500. The Dow reversed earlier losses of as many as 97 points to rise by more than 110 points, or 0.3{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}.

The Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 also each eked out intraday records despite drops in heavily weighted technology stocks Amazon and Apple. 

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks drop as tech shares lag 

Here’s where markets were trading just after the opening bell: 

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -23.57 (-0.51{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 4,572.85

  • Dow (^DJI): -15.81 (-0.04{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 35,714.67

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -111.67 (-0.72{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 15,339.63

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.72 (-0.87{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to $82.09 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$21.60 (-1.2{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to $1,781.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.9 bps to yield 1.598{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}

8:41 a.m. ET: Core PCE inflation rose 3.6{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in September over last year, matching August’s rate

The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation rose at the expected annual rate in September, holding at an elevated level on a historical basis but averting an expected acceleration. 

Core personal consumption expenditures, which capture underlying price changes and exclude volatile food and energy prices, rose 3.6{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in September over last year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday. This was in-line with the expected rate of change, according to Bloomberg data, and matched the prior month’s gain. 

On a month-over-month basis, the core PCE rose 0.2{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}, slowing slightly from August’s 0.3{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} rise. 

The broadest measure of personal consumption expenditures rose 0.3{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in September compared to August and 4.4{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in September over last year. Both of these metrics matched expectations. 

8:33 a.m. ET: Personal income drops more than expected in September while spending meets estimates

Personal income posted a larger than expected monthly decline in September as stimulus from more government crisis-relief programs waned. Spending, however, rose in-line with estimates.

U.S. consumer income fell 1.0{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} in September compared to August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said on Friday. This was bigger than the 0.3{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} decline expected, according to Bloomberg consensus data. The Bureau of Economic Analysis noted that the end of enhanced federal unemployment benefits in early September was one major factor contributing to the drop.

Spending, meanwhile, rose at a 0.6{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} clip, matching expectations. This followed a 0.8{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a} monthly rise in consumer spending in August.

7:22 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures fall, with Apple, Amazon weighing on Nasdaq 

Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -22.25 points (-0.49{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}), to 4,565.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): -42 points (-0.12{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}), to 35,571.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -137.00 points (-0.87{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to 15,627.75

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.20 (+0.24{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to $83.01 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$5.80 (-0.32{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}) to $1,796.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.4 bps to yield 1.603{1b90e59fe8a6c14b55fbbae1d9373c165823754d058ebf80beecafc6dee5063a}

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 30, 2021 in New York City. In afternoon trading the Dow was down over 250 points as investors continue to worry about inflation, wages and supply chain issues. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 30: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 30, 2021 in New York City. In afternoon trading the Dow was down over 250 points as investors continue to worry about inflation, wages and supply chain issues. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

Christopher Lewis

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