Wall Street Turns Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks veered broadly lower on Wall Street in afternoon trading Friday, erasing the market's gains from an early rally.

The selling followed word that Apple is going to temporarily close 11 of its U.S. stores again as new cases of coronavirus surge in Arizona, Florida and other states. The news stoked worries that rising infection levels could imperil early improvements seen in the economy.

The S&P 500 was down 0.2% after being up 1.3% earlier in the day. Despite the reversal, the benchmark index is still on track for a solid weekly gain, which would be its fourth in the last five weeks. It would also mark a revival following last week's 4.8% drop, its worst in nearly three months.

Losses in financial, industrial and technology companies outweighed gains in health care and energy stocks. Bond yields were mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 97 points, or 0.4%, at 25,982, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%.

Trading has been choppy this week as investors balance optimism that the economy is on the path to recovery as more businesses reopen against concerns that a resurgence in infections could force another round of shutdowns. Several reports out this week gave Wall Street reason for optimism.

A report on Tuesday showed that U.S. shoppers spent much more last month at stores and online retailers than economists expected. That bolstered hopes that the economy can pull out of its recession relatively quickly.

Economists at Bank of America now expect the U.S. economy to shrink 5.7% this year, a severe contraction but not as bad as their earlier forecast for an 8.1% plunge.

"Economic data continue to point to a faster and stronger initial recovery," they wrote in a BofA Global Research report. Some of that is due to economic activity being pulled forward from what they had expected to occur next year, ahead of a long road to full recovery. They lowered their forecast for growth in 2021 to 3.4% from 4%.

The Federal Reserve also reminded markets this week how much it's doing to prop up the economy.

The central bank said early in the week that it will buy individual corporate bonds as part of its previously announced plan to support lending markets for big employers. Later in the week, the Fed's chair said it plans to continue to keep interest rates pinned at nearly zero to help cushion against the recession.

It was huge efforts by the Fed, along with spending by Congress, that helped the stock market turn around from its nearly 34% plunge in March. More recently, it's been hopes that the worst of the recession may have already passed that have pushed the market higher.

Still, many analysts say volatility is likely the only certainty for the market in upcoming months. It may take years for the economy to fully recover, but it took just a few months for the stock market to rally back to within 8% of its record.

In Europe, the German DAX returned 0.4%, and France's CAC 40 rose 0.4%. The FTSE 100 in London added 1.1%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.6%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.7% and the Kospi in South Korea rose 0.4%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 0.70% from 0.69% late Thursday. It tends to move with investors' expectations for the economy and inflation.

A barrel of U.S. crude oil for delivery in July rose 1.8% to $39.54. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 0.8% to $41.85 per barrel.