The wandering stock market stayed true to form Wednesday afternoon, as indexes traded mixed and true leadership was difficult to pinpoint.
As they often have the past several weeks, the major indexes diverged. The Nasdaq was off 1.3% while the S&P 500 was nearly flat.
Stock indexes Wednesday have been trending lower in afternoon trading, a session of contrasts among the broad sectors.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 3:02 PM ET 3/24/2021
All the while, cyclical sectors such as materials, industrials and transportation were higher. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) led with a gain of nearly 3% as the ETF rebounds from near the 10-week moving average. The price of U.S. crude oil jumped more than 5% to $60.90 a barrel. The Suez Canal remained blocked with a cargo ship that ran aground.
Small caps went down with growth stocks. The Russell 2000 lost 0.9%. There was strength in value stocks: iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD) climbed 0.5%.
Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) slid 4% in afternoon trading, adding to Tuesday’s 4.3% drop. The IBD 50 ETF is breaking below the 50-day line for the second time this month.
Software, Biotechs Hurt Stock Market
Software and biotechs ranked among the poorest industry groups Wednesday afternoon, down 2% or more. Yet, semiconductors held up. ASML (ASML) jumped 6.4% and continues to climb back above the 50-day moving average.
Applied Materials (AMAT) topped the 122.58 buy point of a three-weeks-tight pattern. Earlier, it found support at the 50-day line.
The semiconductor equipment titan grabbed early attention in the Wednesday IBD Live show.
Chinese stocks continued to weaken. The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) tumbled 2.8% and sank to its 200-day moving average for the first time since Sept. 25. It is now 17% off its prior high.
Vipshop (VIPS) plummeted 20%, wiping away more than three weeks of gains. The stock came to rest at its 10-week line. Chinese online brokerage 360 DigiTech (QFIN) sold off more than 12% and is down 22% for the week.
Concerns about chilling relations between China and the U.S. and worry that China is tightening monetary policy are two factors weighing on Chinese shares.
Juan Carlos Arancibia is the Markets Editor of IBD and oversees our market coverage. Follow him at @IBD_jarancibia
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