Apple, healthcare stocks help Wall Street shrug off Delta worries

Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Tuesday on gains in Apple and healthcare stocks, even though concerns around a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus took some shine off an upbeat corporate earnings season. Ten of the 11 S&P indexes traded higher, with energy stocks rebounding after getting hit by a dip in oil prices.

“We’ve been dealing with a tug of war between what has been a very strong economic recovery consistent with the reopening and that’s playing out through corporate earnings,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

He also noted “concerns about the renewed mitigation efforts that are being put in place around the new variants to the COVID-19 virus.”

Apple Inc rose 1.57% after sliding last week. Other heavyweight technology stocks, including Netflix Inc, Tesla Inc and Facebook Inc continued to edge lower, capping gains on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

A clutch of U.S. companies, including industrial materials maker Dupont and Discovery Inc, reported better-than-expected quarterly results, but their shares fell as investors booked profits amid lofty stock valuations.

Rising cases of the Delta variant and signs that the domestic economic rebound has begun to slow have knocked the three main U.S. stock indexes off record highs, while a deepening regulatory scrutiny in China has sent jitters through the global technology sector.

Shares in U.S.- and European-listed gaming companies fell between 2.8% and 4.6% after a steep sell-off in China’s social media and video games group Tencent, driven by fears the sector could be next in regulators’ crosshairs.

“Grand Theft Auto” creator Take-Two Interactive Software Inc plunged 9.58% after it issued a disappointing sales forecast.

By 2:07 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 218.3 points, or 0.63%, to 35,056.46, the S&P 500 gained 27.77 points, or 0.63%, to 4,414.93 and the Nasdaq Composite added 41.91 points, or 0.29%, to 14,722.98.

By 1:55PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 210.88 points, or 0.61%, to 35,049.04, the S&P 500 gained 26.97 points, or 0.61%, to 4,414.13 and the Nasdaq Composite added 49.52 points, or 0.34%, to 14,730.59.

Data on Tuesday showed U.S. factory orders rose 1.5% in June after a 2.3% increase in the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a rise of 1% in June.

Later in the week, focus will shift to data on the U.S. services sector and the monthly jobs report for July.

In M&A-driven moves, Translate Bio surged 28.99% after France’s Sanofi agreed to buy the U.S. biotech company in a $3.2 billion deal.

Under Armour Inc and Ralph Lauren Corp jumped 5.5% and 6.8%, respectively, after raising their annual revenue forecasts.

Overall, earnings at S&P 500 firms are estimated to have climbed about 90% in the second quarter versus forecasts of 65.4% at the start of July, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.21-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 96 new lows.

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