S&P 500 Struggles for Direction Following Omicron Rebound

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S&P 500 Struggles for Direction Following Omicron Rebound
Credit: © Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 struggled for direction Wednesday, as investors paused their bullish bets on stocks a day after the broader market's biggest daily gain since March.

The S&P 500 rose 0.15%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%, or 26 points, the Nasdaq climbed 0.5%. .  

Despite the pause in the broader market, underlying investor sentiment on stocks continues to be supported by further positive news highlighting the efficiency of vaccines in protecting against the Omicron virus.

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday preliminary results showed their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the virus' Omicron variant after three doses. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX ) traded lower.

Pfizer also said it that would submit full results of its Covid-19 pill, Paxlovid, to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the coming days, CNBC reported, citing the company's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla.

Consumer stables, a defensive corner of the market, was the biggest decliner, paced by a decline in the Kroger (NYSE: KR ), Brown Forman, and Kraft Heinz.

Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC ) fell more than 4% after Guggenheim downgraded the stock to neutral from buy, citing margins pressures ahead.

"Kraft Heinz portfolio's lack of pricing power is getting more apparent as weeks pass, which, in our view, has a significant consequence in near term top and bottom line growth," Guggenheim said.

Brown Forman (NYSE: BFb ) reported third-quarter results that fell short of expectations on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares more than 2%.

Renewed optimism on the recovery, pushed cyclical stocks including financials and energy higher.

Financials, mostly banks, gave up some their gains from a day earlier despite rising Treasury yields, an ally of bank stocks.

State Street (NYSE: STT ), Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION ), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) led financials to the downside.

The United States 10-Year yield rose above 1.5% for the first time in almost a week as investors continued to price in a step in the pace of Federal Reserve's monetary policy tightening.

Strength in communication services, however, supported the broader market as social media stocks including Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) and Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB ) advanced.

Twitter's new chief executive talked up the prospect of improving the speed of execution at the company to support plans to double revenue double by 2023.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ), meanwhile, hit a fresh record high that took the giants' market cap close to an unprecedented $3 trillion.

Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU ), meanwhile, notched an agreement with Google to keep YouTube and YouTube TV on its platform, sending its shares more than 16% higher.

Stitch Fix (NASDAQ: SFIX ) was down more than 23% after the shopping and styling company cut its revenue outlook.

Energy, struggled to replicate its rally from a day earlier, as data showing a lower-than-expected build in weekly crude stockpiles weighed on oil prices.

Crude oil inventories fell to 240,000 barrels last week, missing forecasts for a draw of 1.71 million barrels.

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