The S&P 500 index fell 0.6% last week, marking its fourth consecutive weekly drop, as investors continued to shun risky assets amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The S&P 500 ended Friday's session at 3,298.46, down from last Friday's closing level of 3,319.47. With this being the index's fourth weekly drop in a row, it has been in the red every week of September. The measure is now down 5.8% for September with just three sessions remaining in the month.
The S&P 500 is down 8% from the record high reached Sept. 2 and was down by as much as 11% at Thursday's intraday low, marking a brief trip into correction territory, but hasn't closed at or beyond the 10% threshold that marks an official correction.
This week's drop came as COVID-19 cases in Europe and the US have been elevated while hopes are fading for US lawmakers to reach an agreement on economic stimulus prior to the November election. The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has many Congress members now focusing more on filling the Supreme Court seat than on reaching a pandemic relief package.
The energy sector had the largest percentage drop this week, down 10.2%, followed by a 5% slide in materials and a 4.8% decline in financials. Still, two sectors ended the week in the black: technology, which rose 2% and utilities, up 0.3%.
The tumble in energy coincided with a decline in crude oil futures. Among the sector's decliners, shares of Halliburton (HAL) fell 14% while National Oilwell Varco (NOV) shed 19%.
In the materials sector, shares of Albemarle (ALB) declined 14% as Evercore ISI initiated coverage of the stock with an underperform investment rating and a price target of $86. While the target is above the stock's Friday closing level of $84.52, it is well below last Friday's closing level of $97.96.
Among financial stocks, decliners included Citizens Financial Group (CFG), which dropped 10% this week, and Unum Group (UNM), down 9.9%.
The technology sector remained an outlier as stocks improved amid increased demand during the pandemic. Among its gainers, shares of Lam Research (LRCX) rose 7.5% this week as Stifel Nicolaus upgraded its investment rating on the stock to buy from hold.
Next week, all eyes will be on September payroll data. The ADP employment report for the month will come Wednesday, followed by weekly data Thursday and the Labor Department's monthly nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate Friday. Other key points ahead include August consumer spending on Thursday, August factory orders due Friday, and September consumer sentiment Friday.
Provided by MT Newswires.