Stocks Defy Valuation Worries, Closing at Record: Markets Wrap

A pedestrian is reflected in an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

Stocks Defy Valuation Worries, Closing at Record: Markets Wrap

For all the talk about inflated equity prices, a peak in earnings growth and the spread of a highly infectious coronavirus strain, stocks managed to close at another record.

In what some traders called a boring trading session, the S&P 500 eked out a gain of less than 0.1%. The benchmark gauge of American shares also remained on track for its fifth straight monthly advance -- the longest run since August. Technology and retail companies rose, while financials underperformed even after some of the largest Wall Street banks boosted payouts to shareholders.

Investors have been weighing possible risks to the rally that drove equities up more than 90% from last year’s lows amid expectations that this quarter will mark the peak of a profit recovery from the depths of the pandemic. BlackRock Investment Institute strategists are dialing down their excitement for U.S. stocks, saying that potentially higher taxes and more regulations could pose “challenges” to the market.

Stocks Defy Valuation Worries, Closing at Record: Markets Wrap

“Investors are probably taking a minute to reassess their near-term outlook,” said Adam Phillips, managing director of portfolio strategy at EP Wealth Advisors. “With momentum fading, stocks likely need a meaningful catalyst from here.”

For more market commentary, follow the MLIV blog.

Here are some events to watch in the markets this week:

  • OECD meets in Paris to finalize a proposal to overhaul global minimum corporate taxation Wednesday
  • China’s President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party Thursday
  • OPEC+ ministerial meeting Thursday
  • ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks Friday
  • The U.S. jobs report is due Friday
Stocks Defy Valuation Worries, Closing at Record: Markets Wrap

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 was little changed as of 4 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.3%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed
  • The MSCI World index was little changed

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%
  • The euro fell 0.2% to $1.1902
  • The British pound fell 0.2% to $1.3850
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 110.55 per dollar

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 1.47%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced two basis points to -0.17%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced two basis points to 0.74%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7% to $73.42 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 1.1% to $1,761.70 an ounce

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