Midday Market Update: Markets Turn Squarely Risk-Off

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Although stocks were largely flat Wednesday, the market had turned risk-off by midday. 

The S&P 500, after having been up 0.3% in the morning, was largely flat by noon eastern time. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.5%. The 10-year treasury yield was down a tick, hovering between 0.74%and 0.75%. 

Falling between 1% and 2% were cyclical sectors, which have enjoyed a solid run and are met by concerns about a second wave of viruses, which has kicked into gear the last few weeks, although lockdowns have not been engaged. Consumer discretionary, banks and oil were all down. 

Defensive and growth stocks rose, indicating slightly risk-off sentiment. S&P 500 tech etf  (XLK) - Get Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund Report rose 0.5%, as investors look for growth that can allude economic troubles. On the back of investors’ minds is the resurgence of virus cases. 

Also up were defensive stocks. The New York Stock Exchange Healthcare Index was up almost 0.3% and the S&P 500 Equal Weight Consumer Staples Index rose 0.1%. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and his comments could move the market more substantially in one direction or the other. 

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