Tuesday December 1, 2020

// October 27th, 2020 // Daily News

S&P 500, Dow slip on earnings worries, stimulus uncertainty

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Dow fell on Tuesday, dragged down by a string of earnings disappointments and doubts about a coronavirus stimulus package before Election Day, although Nasdaq rose ahead of results from mega-cap technology companies.

Caterpillar Inc fell 2.2% and 3M Co slipped 1% after both the industrial companies reported lower quarterly earnings.

Investor sentiment sagged after the White House said a potential deal on COVID-19 relief could come in “weeks,” casting doubt on whether an accord could be struck with Congress before the Nov. 3 election.

“Stimulus is now pushed back to after the election and the market is digesting that today,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

Sectors sensitive to economic growth took a hit. The S&P 500 banks index and the S&P energy sector shed about 1% each.

The three major U.S. stock indexes fell to near four-week lows on Monday as investors fretted about record number of new coronavirus infections in the United States and some European countries and an elusive fiscal stimulus.

Meanwhile, Wall Street’s fear gauge hovered at its highest level in nearly two months on jitters over the outcome of the election.Democratic challenger Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in national polls but the race is much tighter in battleground states which determine the election outcome.

At 10:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 78.40 points, or 0.28% to 27,606.98, the S&P 500 lost 1.09 points, or 0.03% to 3,399.88 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 63.73 points, or 0.56% to 11,422.67.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose as Microsoft Corp firmed 1% in the run-up to its results after the closing bell. Apple Inc, Amazon.com, Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook Inc, which together account for about a fifth of the S&P 500’s total value, also report results this week.

Analysts expect the tech sector to post a 0.3% fall in third-quarter earnings from a year earlier, while overall S&P 500 profit is forecast to fall 18.4%, according to Refinitiv data.

Concerns over a rise in U.S. coronavirus cases are weighing on the market although technology sector, in particular, seems to be the least exposed, said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“A focus on big technology companies may move this market to rally despite the problems the virus is creating.”

Insurer American International Group Inc gained 2% after its board named Peter Zaffino as chief executive officer and approved a plan to separate the life and retirement business from the rest of the company.

Semiconductor designer Advanced Micro Devices Inc fell 3.4% as it agreed to buy Xilinx Inc in a $35 billion all-stock deal. Xilinx shares soared about 10%, while those of Intel fell 3.4%.

Merck & Co Inc gained 0.2% as it raised its full-year earnings forecast. Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co fell about 5% after its quarterly profit took a hit from increased costs to develop a COVID-19 treatment.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and nearly matched them on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 35 new lows.


Today’s Inspiration

My Normal Mind

Today’s passage in Ephesians is difficult for many of us to understand. What does Paul mean by “the eyes of your heart flooded with light” (v. 18)? I believe he’s referring to the mind, because that’s what needs enlightenment. It’s with our minds that we grasp God’s truths and hold to them.

Too many of us have a hard time being “flooded with light” because we’re distracted with countless other things. Here, Paul prays for us to have what I call a normal mind—a mind that’s open to the Holy Spirit’s work—so we can follow God’s plan and live the abundant lives He has for us.

One way to process the idea of a normal mind is to look at two of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha. Most people know the story of these sisters and the time Jesus visited their home in Bethany. Martha scurried around, making certain that everything was situated exactly right, while Mary sat down to listen to Jesus. Luke says Martha “was distracted with much serving” (see Luke 10:40), and she complained to Jesus that she needed her sister’s help.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things”, Jesus told her, and then He commended Mary for having chosen the “good portion.” (see verse 41).

As I thought about that incident, I realized Martha’s problem went deeper than simply being distracted with that night’s preparations. Her mind was probably always jumping around, trying to make everything as perfect as possible. The implication is that even if there had been nothing more to do, Martha wouldn’t have stopped to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was so caught up in busyness that her mind would have searched for something else to do.

The Marthas seem to be in control of our world, don’t they? They’re usually the ones who get things done, and when they’re not ­accomplishing their own goals, they’re often telling others what they should do. In today’s world of multitasking­, the Marthas appear to get the awards and the ac­colades. Busy all the time, they wear their busyness like a badge, as if it makes them more ­important.

Marthas’ busyness can easily distract them from developing a solid relationship with God. They’re the ones who often lack depth of peace and rarely experience contentment. That is, they don’t have what God considers a normal mind; it’s not in the calm condition He would want it to be in. On top of that, people who are excessively busy can’t even sleep when they lie down at night. They’re either going back over the day’s activities or making mental lists of tasks for the next day.

This is not the lifestyle Jesus calls us to. As believers, we are spiritual beings, but we’re also natural, and both parts of us must be cared for. The Bible makes it clear that the mind and the spirit work together. That’s the principle I call “the mind aiding the spirit.” For this to happen, we must learn to pull back from all the distractions around us and let Jesus speak to our soul.

There will always be demands on our time and energy, and we can always find plenty to do. But if we want to live with the mind of Christ, the one that should be normal for Christians, it means we must learn to imitate Mary. Despite all the clamor and activities going on around her, she was able to sit, relax, and listen to the voice of the Master. That’s how our mind is supposed to work–it should be calm, quiet and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

If you know that your mind has been behaving abnormally, ask God to forgive you and to help you. He’ll give you the grace you need to trust Him enough to sit at His feet, listen to His voice, and receive His never-ending love for you.

Prayer Starter: Dear God, distractions are constantly coming at me. When I try to pause and focus on You, my mind gravitates to the dozens of things I need to do. I realize that I truly need only one thing—to focus on You. Please help me push away every distraction and noise so I can hear only Your voice that’s always saying, “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” Thank You for Your gift of rest! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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