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MarketWatch MarketPulseAug 14, 2020
S&P 500 ends week and day higher but fails to book record close as market succumbs to lack of fresh catalyst
U.S. stocks closed lower Friday and booked weekly gains, but trading to end in mid August suggests that it may be tough sledding ahead for investors hoping to find further gains, with the S&P 500 within a striking distance of its record close, as stimulus talks are all but dead and data point to a slow and fitful economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic reports, including unemployment claims and retail spending, continue to suggest the economy is recovering, but at an unsteady pace as the virus fails to submit efforts to quash it throughout the country. A report on retail sales in July rose 1.2%, and increased by 1.9% once stripping out for auto and gas. Meanwhile, second-quarter productivity jumped 7.3%, while second-quarter unit labor costs surged by 12.2%. Separately, a reading on industrial production rose 3% in July for the third straight monthly gain after sharp declines in March and April, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Investors continued to wait for developments on a coronavirus relief package from Congress but lawmakers have broken for recess until Labor Day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 34 points, or 0.1%, at 27,931 and booked a weekly gain of 1.8%, while the S&P 500 index finished the day nearly unchanged at 3,372 but notched a weekly gain of 0.6%, ending Friday's trade about 14 points from a record close. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.2% lower at 11,019 and logged a weekly gain of less than 0.1%. Tech stocks have been at the vanguard of the current recovery for stocks but have seen gains peter out in recent trade. Meanwhile, on U.S.-China trade talks, both sides have canceled plans for a virtual weekend meeting to assess their so-called phase one trade deal as it hits its six-month mark.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulseAug 14, 2020
IQiyi's stock plunges on heavy volume after SEC probe disclosure, weighs on Baidu shares
Shares of iQiyi Inc. plunged 15% on heavy volume Friday, in the wake of the China-based streaming video service's disclosure of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission related to certain acquisitions and investments. Trading volume was 38.5 million shares, enough to make the stock the 7th-most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges, and more than 7-times the full-day average. The SEC investigation follows a report issued by short seller Wolfpack Research in April. Analyst Rob Sanderson at Loop Capital Markets said said investors "should not be incrementally rattled by the announcement of the SEC investigation," as the lack of content and heavy post-COVID-19 attrition was already well known. The disclosure of the investigation was in the company's second-quarter earnings report out late Thursday, in which iQiyi reported a narrower-than-expected loss and revenue that rose more than forecasts, according to FactSet, while online ad revenue and subscribers missed, Loop's Sanderson said. Separately, the stock's selloff was helping knock Baidu Inc.'s stock down 6.1%. In Baidu's second-quarter report, the China-based internet search and marketing company said revenue iQiyi represented about 27% of total revenue. Year to date, shares of iQiyi have shed 12.4% and Baidu have lost 7.5%, while the iShares MSCI China ETF has rallied 12.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


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