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S&P 500, Dow Close Lower, But Media Stocks Support Bullish Bets

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By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 and Dow it intraday highs on Thursday, but closed lower despite a rally in media stocks that supported bullish bets.

The S&P 500 closed down 0.3% after earlier hitting a record of 4,808.52 intraday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, or 90.5 points, after hitting an all-time high of 36,679.44. The Nasdaq closed down 0.2%.

Communication services were pushed higher by a rally in ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC), and Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and other video streaming stocks following expectations that U.S. video content spending is set to ramp up in 2022.

The top eight U.S. media groups including Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) plan to spend at least $100 billion on new movies and television shows, the Financial Times reported.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), meanwhile, led the sector higher, up more more than 5% as the social media remained on track to snap four straight monthly losses.

Tech, meanwhile, was weighed down by a stumble in chip stocks, paced by a decline in Micron.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) fell more than 2% after warning that fresh Covid shutdown in Xi’an, China, would weigh on output.

Sentiment on stocks was also boosted by positive vaccine news after Johnson&Johnson’s booster shot was found to be 85% effective in preventing hospitalizations in a South African study. Johnson&Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was up about 0.4%.

The positive news comes a health experts warned of disruptions in coming weeks as the omicron Covid-19 variant continues to rip through the U.S. The U.S. set a one-day record on Wednesday as new daily case total topped 488,000.

Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) gave up its gains from a day earlier, down more than 7% after Samsung (KS:005930) denied reports that it was in talks to buy the health care company for $42 billion.

Cruise line companies including Carnival (NYSE:CCL), and Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) were on the back foot after after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said travelers should avoid going on cruises even if they’re vaccinated

On the economic front, meanwhile, the number of people filing for unemployment insurance in the week ended Dec. 25, fell to 198,000 from 206,000. That beat expectations for a fall to 206,000, with claims remaining at a 52-year low.

Jefferies, however, warned that the jobless claims, which tend to deteriorate this time of the year, still isn’t showing any impact from the Omicron surge.

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