Dow Cuts Gains as Tech Fades, but Deere, Airlines Offer Hope By

© Reuters.

Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow eased from record highs Friday, as tech gave up gains but cyclicals like industrials supported the broader market, as Deere (NYSE:) rallied on blowout earnings, while airlines racked up gains following positive vaccine news that stoked hopes for a quicker reopening.

The rose 0.2%, or 58 points, and had hit a record intraday high of 31,647.53. The was down 0.09%, while the slipped 0.1%. 

Industrials were up more than 2% following a 10% surge in Deere. The heavy equipment maker reported fourth-quarter earnings that were markedly above analyst estimates, driven improving conditions in the farm and construction sectors.

Airlines also supported the move higher in industrials on hopes travel demand could return sooner than expected following a positive update on the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine.

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:) was 85% effective after just the first dose, according to the latest findings from Israeli health-care workers published in The Lancet medical journal. The companies also submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request their vaccine be stored at regular freezer temperature. Still, it wasn’t all positive news on the vaccine front as officials reported the cold snap that swept across the U.S. had delayed vaccine roll outs.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:), and United Airlines (NASDAQ:) rallied on the day.

The broader value sector of the market, which includes industrials, was also supported by upbeat economic data showing services activity was beginning to gather pace.  

The February preliminary reading for Markit U.S. PMI was 58.9, above the 58.0 expected, and the highest since March 2015.

Technology turned negative as weakness in big tech offset a climb semiconductor stocks thanks to a rally in Applied Materials.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:) jumped 7% after the semiconductor equipment market delivered a fourth-quarter earnings beat, and upbeat guidance.  

Facebook (NASDAQ:), Apple (NASDAQ:), (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) were lower. 

In other tech news, International Business Machines (NYSE:) is reportedly weighing the sale of Watson, its artificial intelligence business. Its shares were down more than 1% on the day.

Roku (NASDAQ:), meanwhile, rose 1% after it reported a beat on the top and bottom lines in the fourth quarter, driven by pandemic-fueled demand.

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