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US STOCKS-Wall Street slides as virus spike hits travel stocks

Tue 20th April, 2021 7:55pm
* Kansas City Southern surges on bid from Canadian National
    * Nike falls as Citi downgrades stock
    * CBOE volatility index hits three-week high

 (Adds afternoon prices)
    By Herbert Lash and Medha Singh
    April 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes fell for a
second straight day on Tuesday as a global spike in coronavirus
cases hit travel stocks and investors had second thoughts about
big U.S. banks' apparently stellar earnings last week.
    Kansas City Southern  KSU.N  surged 16.1% on the prospect of
a bidding war after Canadian National  CNR.TO  offered about $30
billion for the U.S. railroad, some $5 billion more than an
earlier offer from Canadian Pacific  CP.TO .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MD2UA
    Boeing Co  BA.N  slid 4.6% on the unexpected departure of
its finance chief, the latest shock to hit the planemaker as it
fights to recover from the pandemic and 737 MAX crisis.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MD3DV
    Investors piled into defensive sectors considered relatively
safe during times of economic uncertainty: real estate
 .SPLRCR , utilities  .SPLRCU , consumer staples  .SPLRCS  and
healthcare  .SPXHC . 
    Shares of airline operators and cruiseliners including
JetBlue Airways  JBLU.O , American Airlines  AAL.O , Norwegian
Cruise Line  NCLH.N  and Carnival Corp  CCL.N , which were
hammered last year as widespread lockdowns led to a halt in
global travel, fell between 5% and 9%.
    Some of the recent optimism about the leisure industry has
waned as the reopening might take a bit longer than initially
thought, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading
at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
    "We're not out of the woods yet when it comes to the COVID
virus and getting to where global economies are reopening," he
said. "Some of that enthusiasm has diminished."  
    Wall Street scaled record highs last week as investors bet
on stocks such as industrials and miners that are seen as
benefiting from the economic rebound, while highly valued
technology stocks regained favor after a retreat in bond yields.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  fell 1.08%, the S&P
500  .SPX  lost 0.97% and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  dropped
1.31%.
    The CBOE volatility index  .VIX , known as Wall Street's
fear gauge, rose above 19 points for the first time since March
31.
    JPMorgan Chase & Co  JPM.N , Bank of America Corp  BAC.N ,
Citigroup Inc  C.N  and Wells Fargo & Co  WFC.N  led financials
lower as analysts reassessed their first-quarter earnings
reports, said Dick Bove, senior research analyst at Odeon
Capital Group.
    Accounting changes on how to report loan reserves skewered
numbers when compared to a year ago, he said.   
    "People made the assumption this was a gangbusters quarter
for the banking industry when that's far from the truth," Bove
said, adding second-half profits are expected to be very strong.
  
    United Airlines Holdings Inc  UAL.OQ  tumbled 9.6%, the
largest decliner on the S&P 500, after reporting a
bigger-than-expected adjusted net loss. Its shares dragged the
S&P 1500 airline index  .SPCOMAIR  down 5.2%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MC410
    Shares of video-streaming service provider Netflix Inc
 NFLX.O , which thrived during last year's lockdowns, fell about
0.5% ahead of its results due after the closing bell.
    International Business Machines Corp  IBM.N  rose 3.8% after
recording the biggest rise in quarterly sales in more than two
years.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MC3XY
    Analysts expect first-quarter earnings from S&P 500 firms to
jump 31.5% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv IBES
data.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
3.32-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.84-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
    The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 43 new highs and 106 new lows.  

 (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Anil D'Silva and Arun Koyyur and
Richard Chang)
 ((Shivani.Kumaresan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780;))
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