Midday Market Update: Stocks Pressured, But Big Tech Slows S&P 500's Losses

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Stocks remained pressured by midday Tuesday, but shares of big tech companies helped keep the market afloat. 

The S&P 500, after having fallen more than 1% in the morning, was down about 0.75% by midday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.24% after having started the day down. The 10-Year Treasury yield fell to 0.82%, a risk-off signal. Yields fall when prices rise. 

Daily coronavirus cases in the U.S., on a 7-day moving average, have risen to roughly 25,000 from about 17,000 before May 27. That’s according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Morgan Stanley biotech analyst Matthew Harrison raised his total coronavirus cases estimate to 2.5 million from 2.3 million a week ago and from 1.4 million a month ago. “Many states have started to reach new highs in cases and we are now watching to see if any states breakout in the next 2-4 weeks,” Harrison wrote in a note.

Leading stocks down were consumer discretionary, banks and oil. The price of crude oil fell 0.89%. As for consumer discretionary, airlines were down hugely, with United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report down 7%. 

But FAANG stocks and Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report, which account for roughly 20% of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, were up, with the NYSE FANG Index up 0.95%. Investors like to move into growth tech stocks, which can often largely avoid the negative impacts of recessions and maintain above-market earnings growth rates.  

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