The First Slice for Tuesday, October 19, 2021

U.S. stocks shook off early losses to finish mostly higher Monday, with buying in consumer discretionary and information technology helping to buttress the broader market, despite a report that revealed slower-than-forecast growth in China that was blamed for early weakness.

  • The Dow slipped -36.15 or -0.10%
  • The S&P 500 rose +15.09 or +0.34%
  • The Nasdaq gained +124.37 or +0.84%

Buying in consumer discretionary technology shares and communication services gave the broader market a bit of a boost, as investors attempted to shake off an earlier dour mood on Wall Street that had been partly prompted by concerns about the economic health of the world’s second-largest economy.

China reported 4.9% year-over-year growth in the third quarter, a big slowdown from the 7.9% recorded in the second quarter, as construction output slowed. 

Hand-wringing about stuttering global growth and surging inflation has helped to check the bulls somewhat, as crude-oil futures touched multiyear highs before retreating on the day. Concerns about inflation also were on display across the pond, before trickling over into U.S. markets.

A stunning rally in energy prices has been cited as further reason to cast doubt on the prospect for strong global growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with analysts concerned that the U.S. could be stunted.

The moves in stocks come against the backdrop of third-quarter earnings season, which kicks into higher gear this week with releases from Netflix Tesla, and International Business Machines among others.

In economic reports, a reading of U.S. industrial output was down 1.3% in September. The reading for August was revised lower to a decline of 0.1% from a gain of 0.4%.

The National Association of Home Builders said its monthly confidence index increased four points to a reading of 80 in October — the highest reading since July.

  • Zillow Group IncZ is pausing the purchase of U.S. homes as it works through a backlog of properties, Bloomberg News reported Sunday. Shares fell 9.5%.
  • Square Inc. SQ is contemplating building a system for bitcoin BTCUSD mining, according to Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. The payment platform’s shares closed up 1.3%.
  • Walmart Inc. WMT announced the return of its “Black Friday Deals for Days” event, taking place during the month of November. Shares ended 0.8% higher.
  • Amazon.com Inc. AMZN said Monday that it is looking for 150,000 seasonal hires, both full- and part-time. Its stock was up 1.1%.
  • Oil futures finished modestly higher, with the November WTI contract adding 16 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $82.44 a barrel.
  • December gold futures fell $2.60, or nearly 0.2%, to settle at $1,765.70 an ounce.

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