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US STOCKS-Nvidia pushes S&P 500, Nasdaq higher amid coronavirus worries

US STOCKS-Nvidia pushes S&P 500, Nasdaq higher amid coronavirus worries

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged higher on Friday, supported by Nvidia shares after its upbeat outlook, but concerns about an economic hit from the coronavirus outbreak limited gains. Nvidia Corp jumped 8% as the company forecast first-quarter revenue ahead of analysts' estimates, reinforcing expectations of a rebound in chip demand.

Its shares lifted the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index by 0.3%, while the broader technology rose 0.5%. Meanwhile, the coronavirus epidemic in China showed no signs of easing, with health authorities reporting on Friday more than 5,000 new cases.

A recent Reuters poll showed the world's second-biggest economy will grow at its slowest pace since the financial crisis in the current quarter but the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained. "This seems to be a teflon market, where any negativity - whether it is coronavirus or anything - for now continues to get shrugged off," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Economic data continues to be good enough to sustain the market's uptrend, he added. Wall Street was on course for a second straight weekly gain after hitting a series of record highs on a largely positive fourth-quarter earnings season and confidence in the U.S. economy.

However, data released on Friday was not so rosy. A Commerce Department retail sales report showed consumer spending likely slowed further in January, while separate data indicated industrial production fell more than expected last month. At 11:44 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2.36 points, or 0.01%, at 29,420.95. The S&P 500 was up 4.78 points, or 0.14%, at 3,378.72 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 25.48 points, or 0.26%, at 9,737.45.

The fourth-quarter earnings season is approaching the final lap. About 71% of the 378 S&P 500 firms that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to IBES by Refinitiv. Expedia Inc jumped 11.3% after the online travel services company forecast strong quarterly core earnings amid coronavirus uncertainties.

The energy, healthcare and industrial sectors were the losers among the 11 major S&P sectors. U.S. financial markets are closed on Monday for President's Day.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 59 new 52-week highs and two new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 110 new highs and 41 new lows.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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