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Stocks - Wall Street off Lows as Energy, Tech Climb

By Yasin Ebrahim 

Investing.com – Wall Street moved off session lows on Monday as a rise in energy and technology stocks eased the steep fall in travel-related stocks and worries over growing rising U.S.-China tensions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.33%, or 77 points, the S&P 500 slipped 0.02%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.68%.

Oil prices pared intraday losses to settle higher for the day, pushing energy stocks higher, as the reopening of the economy stoked investor hopes that the rout in demand could be in rearview. 

Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), were above the biggest gainers, with the latter surging nearly 8%.   

The move off the lows was also driven by ongoing demand for large-cap FAANG names, with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) leading the pack, up about 2%.

Elsewhere, Disney fell 3% after Moffett Nathanson downgraded the stock to neutral from buy just a day ahead of its earnings, on worries that its results were likely to suffer a worst-than-expected hit from Covid-19 related disruptions to its studio and theme parks businesses. 

Wall Street got the session underway on a sour note after U.S. President Donald continued to pin blame on China over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.  

In a virtual townhall on Fox News, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Beijing of making a "horrible mistake" and likening their actions to putting gasoline on an uncontrollable fire.

Warning that the Covid-19 pandemic had changed the fundamentals for airlines, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) Chairman Warren Buffett said the company had sold its major stakes in airlines stocks during the previous quarter.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) dropped 9%, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) (UAL) fell 5% and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) sank 7%.

In another blow to investor sentiment, Buffet signaled the broader market has remained somewhat frothy as Berkshire held off making significant purchases despite the selloff in March.

"We have not done anything because we don't see anything attractive to do," he said.

The hit to investor sentiment comes despite some on Wall Street suggesting that economic activity had bottomed.

"Economic activity has probably bottomed now," Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said in a report on Monday. "Lockdowns and social distancing are starting to diminish as many countries are cautiously reopening their economies."

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