Tech leads decline as stock run-up takes a breather
U.S. stock indexes gave up some of their recent gains Monday, pulling the S&P 500 slightly below the record high it hit last week.
Technology, communication and energy stocks weighed on the market, outweighing gains by a broad mix of companies, including banks and those that rely directly on consumer spending, such as Nike and Chipotle.
Bond yields inched higher after easing most of last week. Investors have been focusing on the economic recovery as well as the risks higher inflation poses to consumers and companies. Those concerns have helped push up bond yields for much of this year.
Monday’s pullback snapped a three-day winning streak for the benchmark S&P 500, which closed out last week with its third-straight weekly gain.
“It’s this back-and-forth as the market tries to figure out how strong the economy is going to be and how long it’s going to last,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.
The S&P 500 slipped 0.81 points, or less than 0.1%, to 4,127.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55.20 points, or 0.2%, to 33,745.40. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 50.19 points, or 0.4%, to 13,850. The S&P 500 and Dow each set record highs Friday.
Small-company stocks, which have been outgaining the broader market this year, also fell. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 9.69 points, or 0.4%, to 2,233.78. The index is up 13.1% so far this year, while the S&P 500, which tracks large companies, is up 9.9%.
Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the market. Apple fell 1.3% and Google’s parent company slid 1.1%.
The sector has been choppy as investors shift money to other industries that could see solid gains as the economy recovers. Rising bond yields have also made technology stocks look pricey after months of big gains.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, inched up to 1.67%. It ended Friday at 1.66% and had been as high as 1.75% last Monday.
Traders are showing cautious optimism about the economic recovery, especially in the U.S., where vaccine distribution has been ramping up and President Joe Biden has advanced the deadline for states to make doses available to all adults to next Monday.
While many economists are projecting a strong economic rebound this year, some companies that stand to benefit from the reopening of the economy were among the decliners Monday. Shares of cruise operators Carnival and Royal Caribbean fell 5.3% and 3.1%, respectively.
Nuance Communications shares soared 15.9% after Microsoft said it would buy the speech technology company for about $16 billion.
Alibaba’s U.S.-listed shares jumped 9.3% after the Chinese conglomerate said it would restructure its Ant Group financial affiliate to placate Chinese government regulatory concerns.
Wall Street will be watching company earnings reports this week, particularly several from big banks. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo report Wednesday, while Bank of America and Citigroup report Thursday.
Investors expect big profits for the major banks, mostly because of rising interest rates and the ability for these banks to move loans that went bad in the early weeks of the pandemic back onto the good side of their balance sheets.