Stocks – Dow Falls Again; Tech Helps Nasdaq Eke out Gain

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By Yasin Ebrahim – Wall Street struggled again Wednesday, with the and S&P giving up very strong gains to close in the red again as signs the spread of the coronavirus outside mainland in China is gathering pace. But techs helped the Nasdaq snap a four-day losing streak.

The fell 124 points, or 0.46%, after rising more than 400 points in early trading. The lost 0.38% and the rose 0.17%

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar confirmed a new case of the coronavirus in the U.S., taking the total to 15 so far.

The update came on the heels of reports that Nassau County health officials placed 83 Americans in self-quarantine after they return to New York from China. So far, 27 people have tested negative out of the 83 in quarantine.

A rise in cases elsewhere also stoked concerns that the spread of the virus is intensifying, with Germany’s health minister warning the country is at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic.

The reports unnerved investors and triggered a sea of red across stocks, turning the broader market negative.

Energy stocks erased early-day gains, ending the day 3% lower, as fears about weaker oil demand offset data showing a smaller-than-expected build in weekly supplies.

Tech stocks also shed gains, but ended in positive territory overall, supported by a climb in shares of Oracle (NYSE:), Nvidia (NASDAQ:) and Apple (NASDAQ:).

Quarterly earnings also garnered investor attention but did little to influence direction.

Lowe’s (NYSE:) slipped 4.5% as traders weighed up the home-improvement retailer’s weaker-than-expected revenue and comparable sales against better-than-expected earnings.

Wendy’s (NASDAQ:) fell 4.6% as weaker guidance offset earnings that topped Wall Street estimates.

Toll Brothers (NYSE:) plunged 14% after missing consensus estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Virgin Galactic (NYSE:), meanwhile, said losses widened to $73 million from $46 million a year earlier, sending its share price down 15%.

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