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Stocks Slip on Wall Street             08/04 15:51

   Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Wednesday after a disappointing 
jobs report stoked worry about the strength of the economic recovery as a 
highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreads.

   (AP) -- Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Wednesday after a 
disappointing jobs report stoked worry about the strength of the economic 
recovery as a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreads.

   The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, easing back from the all-time high the benchmark 
index set a day earlier. Crude oil prices fell more than 3% and pushed energy 
companies lower. Industrial firms, banks, retailers, hotels and other companies 
that rely on direct consumer spending also fell. Those losses outweighed gains 
in technology and communication stocks.

   Payroll processor ADP revealed a disappointing snapshot of the nation's 
employment recovery, adding to concerns about the lagging recovery in the jobs 
market. ADP said the private sector added 330,000 jobs in July, falling far 
short of economists' expectations. The report comes ahead of the Labor 
Department's more comprehensive July jobs report on Friday.

   "You're getting some mixed signals, certainly, but we think we'll get some 
good growth and the underlying economy is pretty good," said Scott Wren, senior 
global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

   The recovery in the jobs market will likely continue to be bumpy, but it's 
on track to continue improving over the long term, he said.

   The S&P 500 fell 20.49 points to 4,402.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 
dropped 323.73 points, or 0.9%, to 34,792.67. The Nasdaq composite added 19.24 
points, or 0.1%, to 14,780.53. The Dow and Nasdaq each hit all-time highs just 
last week.

   Stocks have been choppy this week as investors continue to pore over 
corporate earnings reports while reviewing economic data for clues as to how 
the economic recovery is going.

   Wednesday's jobs survey from ADP raised doubts that Friday's broader July 
jobs report will exceed expectations. Economists are projecting that U.S. 
employers added 700,000 jobs last month, and that the national unemployment 
rate slipped to 5.7% from 5.9%, according to FactSet.

   That outlook is now likely too optimistic, because of the sudden resurgence 
in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, Brad McMillan, chief investment 
officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, wrote Wednesday.

   And if Friday's job report shows a similar shortfall as the ADP survey, that 
"would signal that the job recovery has slowed, at a minimum," McMillan wrote.

   Traders also weighed an encouraging report on growth in the services sector, 
which makes up the bulk of the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply 
Management reported that in July the sector grew at its fastest pace since the 
survey started in 2008.

   Bond yields mostly recovered from an early slip following the release of the 
report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 1.16%, down from 1.17% 
late Tuesday. It dipped as low as 1.13% in early trading.

   The resurgence of COVID-19 with the highly contagious delta variant in spots 
around the world is also a key concern for Wall Street. China's worst outbreak 
since the start of the pandemic a year and a half ago escalated Wednesday with 
dozens more cases around the country and the sealing-off of one city.

   While analysts don't expect the spike in infections to send the world back 
in to the lockdowns experienced a year ago, it could still stunt economic 
growth.

   Still, worries about the delta variant, sluggish employment growth and signs 
the Federal Reserve is beginning to consider reducing its support for the 
economy amid rising inflation all point to "slowing growth later in the year, 
or more likely 2022," said Jay Hatfield, CEO of Infrastructure Capital Advisors.

   Investors are also still in the thick of corporate earnings season. The 
results have been solid so far. Roughly 75% of companies in the S&P 500 have 
turned in their earnings and the majority have been surprisingly good.

   Strong profit and revenue results weren't enough to lift stocks for many 
companies on Wednesday, however. General Motors fell 8.9% despite overcoming an 
industry-wide chip shortage to beat analysts' profit expectations and raise its 
forecast. CVS Health slipped 2.9% after also reporting solid results.

   Ticket seller and concert promoter Live Nation rose 1.5% after reporting 
surprisingly mild second-quarter loss. Cruise line operator Royal Caribbean 
Group slid 2.5% after its latest quarterly results fell short of analysts' 
expectations.

   Online broker Robinhood surged 50.4%, a big turnaround following its tepid 
stock market debut last week. Trading was volatile and had to be halted three 
times shortly after the market opened. Market experts have cautioned that 
Robinhood's stock could be in for a jagged ride because of its popularity among 
smaller investors.

 
 
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