US STOCKS-Wall Street retreats, S&P 500 still set for best November ever

Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh
·3 min read

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* Dow on track for biggest monthly gain since 1987

* IHS Markit rises on $44 bln buyout deal from S&P Global

* Indexes down: Dow 1.3%, S&P 0.9%, Nasdaq 0.7% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh

Nov 30 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes dipped on Monday as investors paused following a sharp rally that has put the S&P 500 on course for its best November ever.

All of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading lower, with energy leading losses, tracking a decline in crude prices.

IHS Markit topped gains on the benchmark S&P 500 after data giant S&P Global agreed to buy the financial information provider in a $44 billion deal, which will be the biggest corporate acquisition of 2020.

Month-end rebalancing of portfolios played into Monday's weakness, analysts said, as investors cash in on gains after a strong month marked by updates of COVID-19 vaccines making headway and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year.

A rotation into sectors deemed to provide better returns coming out of a recession such as energy, industrials and financials have driven gains of more than 11% for the S&P 500 and put the Dow is on track for its biggest monthly gain since 1987.

"It is a sell-off that is warranted after such strong gains. We have a lot of macro news this week and the non-farm payrolls may not be too friendly to the market," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

After an explosion in infections and business restrictions this month that stalled the U.S. labor market recovery, focus will be on the monthly jobs report and the Fed's Beige Book, as well as an address by Fed Chair Jerome Powell before the Senate Banking Committee.

At 11:44 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 398.95 points, or 1.31% to 29,510.22 and the S&P 500 lost 33.92 points, or 0.93% to 3,604.57. The Nasdaq Composite lost 79.00 points, or 0.66% to 12,125.13 after hitting an all-time early in the session.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar on Monday said the first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas.

Moderna unveiled plans to apply for U.S. and European emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective, sending its shares up 16%.

"Until the actual vaccination begins, I don't know if news on the same company is going to move the needle," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager, Dakota Wealth, New York.

Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp slipped between 2.5% and 5% as masked shoppers turned up in smaller numbers at major U.S. retailers on Black Friday as early online deals and concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases dulled enthusiasm for mall trips.

Nikola Corp sank 23% as the company and General Motors announced a reworked deal on a fuel-cell partnership that eliminates an equity stake in the startup for the Detroit automaker and plans for building its electric pickup truck.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers ones by 3-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and on Nasdaq a 0.5-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted eight new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 243 new highs and six new lows.

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur)