US STOCKS-Wall Street ends little changed as Disney offsets weaker sentiment
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* Disney boosts Dow, S&P 500
* Airbnb slips after Delta warning hits bookings
* S&P 500, higher Dow close week (updates until mid-afternoon, signature changes)
NEW YORK, Aug. 13 (Reuters) – US stocks held near the unchanged level on Friday and posted a second straight week of gains, as a rise in Walt Disney shares boosted the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500, but a sharp drop in consumer confidence kept investor optimism in check.
Walt Disney recorded one of the biggest gains in the Dow Jones and the S&P benchmark after profits beat market expectations as its streaming services added more customers than expected and its theme parks Americans affected by the pandemic have returned to profitability.
But a report from the University of Michigan shattered optimism after showing the university’s preliminary consumer confidence index fell to 70.2, its lowest level in a decade, suggesting that the Delta variant of the coronavirus had an impact on consumers.
“It’s concerning, the consumer is obviously in an extremely strong position, but there is this kind of COVID fatigue that is really starting to weigh on people’s sentiment,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategist at Baird in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Regardless of the lockdown or full reopening, the consumer is healthy enough to spend and keep the economy afloat, different names and different sectors will benefit from it. “
The report lowered the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, which in turn helped lift big names in growth, such as Microsoft Corp, while online retail giant Amazon has slipped.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.22 points, or 0.04%, to 35,513.07, the S&P 500 gained 6.91 points, or 0.15%, to 4,467.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.02 points, or 0.04%, to 14,822.29.
U.S. stocks have managed to slowly reach new highs in recent sessions, as investor confidence in the economic recovery has been bolstered by a strong earnings season, the passage of a major infrastructure and infrastructure bill. data showing that inflation could increase at a slower rate than expected.
Following new data earlier this week that showed consumer price increases slowed in July, while producer prices posted their biggest annual increase in more than a decade, investors are now eagerly awaiting the central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this month for clues about the policy.
In recent days, several Fed officials have said it is almost time for the central bank to start withdrawing monetary support, including cutting back on its asset purchases.
DoorDash Inc rose, reversing earlier losses after the loss of the food delivery business widened more than expected in the second quarter.
Airbnb Inc slipped after reporting a blow to its current quarter bookings by the Delta variant and a slowdown in vaccination in the United States.
Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Aurora Ellis