S&P Retreats From Record High as Fed Flags Virus' Impact on Businesses

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Investing.com – The S&P 500 retracted from record highs, as tech ran out of steam following the release of the Fed minutes showing that pockets of the economy continue remain under pressure,   

The S&P 500 was flat at 3,387, after surging above its previous all-time intraday of 3,393.52 earlier in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.06%, or 16 points. while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.21%.

In the Fed’s July meeting minutes, policymakers acknowledged a strong rebound in consumer spending, though flagged ongoing uncertainty among businesses, which could likely pressure the robust recovery seen in labor markets.  

“In contrast to the sizable rebound in consumer spending, participants saw less improvement in the business sector in recent months, and they noted that their District business contacts continued to report extraordinarily high levels of uncertainty and risks, ” the minutes showed.

Still, policymakers continued to suggest that accommodative policy should continue amid sluggish inflation. “Participants also noted that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy would likely be needed for some time to support aggregate demand and achieve 2 percent inflation over the longer run.”

The update comes as the last wave of quarterly results show that retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) benefited from a pandemic-led boost in sales. 

Target jumped 12% reported that second-quarter results beat on both the top and bottom lines with same-store sales growing 24.3% for the quarter, above consensus estimates of 7.6%. 

Lowe’s shares gained 0.6% as the home-improvement retailer delivered earnings and revenue that topped expectations. 

Industrials and financials, sectors that tend to outperform as the economy strengthens, also led the charge higher in the broader market as investors continue to bet on a faster economic recovery. 

In tech, meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) became the first company to reach a $2 trillion valuation after gaining 1% to trade above $467.73.

The other Fab 5 stocks, with the exception of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), were higher. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) traded above the flatline. 

Energy, however, struggled to join in the move higher, pressured by decline in oil prices as crude inventories declined by 1.6 million barrels last week, short of forecasts for a draw of 2.67 million barrels. 

In other news, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) was dealt a blow after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company’s experimental treatment for moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. Its shares fell 4%.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:BMRN), meanwhile, slumped 36% after the FDA Food and Drug Administration rejected its hemophilia drug, citing the need for further proof.