Stocks declined Tuesday on the heels of another record-setting session, with investors looking ahead to the start of earnings results from mega-cap technology companies on Tuesday. Concerns over the spread of the Delta variant and a regulatory crackdown in China also lingered.
The S&P 500 headed lower after the blue-chip index eked out a record closing and intraday high during the regular trading day on Monday. The Dow and Nasdaq also slipped. Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. sank further on Tuesday, with shares of companies like Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU) each lower, amid speculation that a broad-based regulatory crackdown in China might spur U.S. restrictions against investments in Chinese companies.
On Tuesday, investors are set to receive quarterly earnings results from companies including Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL), and Microsoft (MSFT), or some of the most heavily weighted stocks in the S&P 500. According to FactSet, these will come on the heels of an already strong second-quarter earnings season, with the expected growth rate for aggregate S&P 500 earnings per share hovering at more than 74%, or the highest since 2009. And in the past week, prominent tech names including Snap (SNAP), Twitter (TWTR), and Tesla (TSLA) have posted results that handily exceeded estimates, adding to optimism around the forthcoming reports.
“These companies, for example, Google, Microsoft, even Amazon, have cloud types of research and business coming in, which will bode well for the big push into big data and 5G,” Sylvia Jablonski, Defiance ETFs co-founder and chief investment officer told Yahoo Finance. “I just think that these companies are so much more than they were even a year ago, and they’re poised to continue to grow.”
“In terms of, is this the peak? We have this weird scenario, where we’re still sort of comparing base case from year-over-year, which was in the heart of COVID,” she added. “It’s thought that this quarter will have growth of 8% to 9%. Next quarter will cool down to 8%. We’ll probably finish off the year at 7% to 7.5% GDP. I still personally like that number. I think that these tech names, the names that are reporting this week, have a good 10% left to go for the rest of the year. And they’ve really been slow movers up until now, so I think it’s still a good opportunity to be in these names.”
Concerns over the path forward for growth have also continued to linger for investors, especially given the recent surge in the spread of the Delta variant. On Monday, Goldman Sachs economists downgraded their forecast for third and fourth-quarter growth, citing risks that a slower return of service sector activity would generate a sharper-than-expected growth deceleration.
Other economists, however, have maintained a more upbeat outlook.
“We’re not on the side of thinking that you’re seeing a very sharp growth slowdown. We think the consumer remains solid; we think services spending for the consumer remains solid,” Matthew Luzzetti, Deutsche Bank senior economist, told Yahoo Finance on Monday.
“There are no doubt growth concerns out there. There are no doubt concerns about the Delta variant spilling over into economic activity over the coming months,” he added. “But at this point, we’re viewing that as a downside risk. We really do have a baseline still of a very robust growth outlook, at least through the remainder of this year.””
10:27 a.m. ET: ‘There’s a bit of a balance that investors need to strike’ between cyclical and growth stocks: Strategist U.S. stocks have traded choppily over the past several weeks, alternating between shallow pullbacks and moves to new highs. Beneath the surface, leadership has also see-sawed between cyclical and growth stocks, or those poised to benefit from the reopening and those serving as a hedge against resurgent virus fears.