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US: Stocks end volatile session higher but down for the week

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Wall Street stocks finished higher Friday following a topsy-turvy session as investors weighed rising coronavirus cases in some states and concerns about excessive equity valuations.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished higher Friday following a topsy-turvy session as investors weighed rising coronavirus cases in some states and concerns about excessive equity valuations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up around 475 points, or 1.9 per cent, at 25,605.54.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.3 per cent to 3,041.31, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1 per cent to 9,588.81.

Despite the gains, major indices finished the week lower after markets suffered their worst session Thursday since March. The S&P 500 lost nearly five per cent for the week.

Investors have been jolted by data showing increased coronavirus cases in several states that reopened, including isolated instances where hospital capacity has grown scarce.

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In some places, more widespread testing has contributed to a higher number of reported cases each day. Many of these are mild and do not lead to hospitalization.

While some states like Virginia and New York are moving ahead with reopening businesses, other places like the city of Nashville, Tennessee and the Pacific state of Oregon are slowing their reopenings down.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, said the trend in coronavirus cases added to worries about excess stock valuations and still-weak economic data.

"We thought we had peaked" on coronavirus, Mr Hogan said, adding that higher cases numbers will slow the phased reopening of the economy following shutdowns to contain the virus.

"Going from phase two to phase three is going to take longer if we're seeing an increase in cases," he said.

Airlines remained one of the most volatile segments, surging Friday after suffering big losses on Thursday. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines all jumped more than 10 per cent.

Among other companies, Adobe advanced 4.8 per cent as it reported higher profits on a 14 per cent increase in second-quarter revenues to US$3.1 billion, joining the list of technology companies that have benefited amid the upheaval caused by Covid-19.

Dick's Sporting Goods advanced 9 per cent after announcing it was reinstating its dividend and bringing most of its furloughed employees back to work following coronavirus shutdowns.

AFP

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