Nasdaq ends at new record as Dow retreats

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Nasdaq finished at a fresh record on Friday (Nov 19) on a mixed day for US stocks as markets weighed the risk of economic weakness due to another Covid-19 wave.

The tech-focused index notched its first close above 16,000 points, extending a trend in recent days of outperforming the broader market.

"What the tech gains could be showing is the reemergence of growth concerns," said analyst Patrick O'Hare, alluding to the latest Covid-19 restrictions in Europe.

Austria announced a national lockdown of at least 20 days in response to rising coronavirus infections, while more German states cancelled Christmas markets due to the latest wave of the virus.

The Nasdaq jumped 0.4 per cent to 16,057.44, ending at its second straight record and up 1.2 per cent for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 per cent to 35,601.98, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.1 per cent to 4,697.96.

O'Hare said the muted session likely also reflects hesitancy ahead of President Joe Biden's announcement on whether to renominate Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second four-year.

Investors largely shrugged off House passage of Biden's US$1.8 trillion (S$2.4 trillion) package to address climate change and bolster the US safety net, awaiting resolution in the Senate where debate is expected to be intense.

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