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Market Snapshot: Dow skids over 200 points lower, as Nasdaq extends record climb


U.S. stock index were mostly higher after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite established fresh intraday all-time highs in early action, but with the Dow under slight pressure from a slump in Boeing Co.

and Chevron Corp. shares

Market participants also awaited more insights on the amount of money that banks will be able to distribute to shareholders after passing “stress tests” last week imposed by its regulator.

How are stock benchmarks trading?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average

    was trading 166 points, or 0.5%, lower at 34,267, off the session lows.
  • The S&P 500 index

    was about 2 points higher at 4,283, after touching an intraday record at 4,288.55.
  • The Nasdaq Composite

    traded 94 points higher, or 0.7%, at 14,454, after setting its all-time intraday peak at 14,460.73.

On Friday, the Dow put in a weekly gain of 3.4%, its largest since the week ended March 12; the S&P 500 rose 2.7% for its sharpest weekly climb since Feb. 5, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.4% for its steepest weekly rise since April 9.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks were mostly higher Monday afternoon, with the Dow slightly lower as a couple of its constituents and the broader market faced resistance from energy stocks and financials.

The focus, in the last trading days of June, remained on quarter-end positioning, discussions surrounding infrastructure and the outlook for the economy’s reopening phase as market participants watch COVID variants.

“I think in the next couple of days, we could see a little bit more volatility,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson Companies.

“As institutional funds get situated for the second half, there could be a bit more trading than usual over the next couple of days,” he told MarketWatch, adding that inflation, the growth outlook and the direction of interest rates remain top of mind for investors.

“I think the outlook for the market has been fairly positive, but the bond market may be expressing some concern about the sustainability of growth in the second half of the year,” he said.

Global tensions also resurfaced, blamed for some early turbulence in markets, after overnight U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

In Washington, hopes were high for progress on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, that could deliver a fresh jolt to business activity in the U.S., while improving roads, bridges and tunnels, after President Joe Biden over the weekend walked back comments that tied the $1 billion infrastructure bill to an antipoverty package.

But worries lingered about the persistence of growing pricing pressures in the economy’s recovery phase from COVID, with investors expected to shift their attention to data on the labor market, with the latest update on monthly jobs due on Friday.

The Federal Reserve has insisted that inflation likely will be a temporary phenomenon, but policy makers also have said improvements in the jobs market will form a key part of the decision making process around when to begin curtailing its program of monthly asset purchases and eventually raising its benchmark interest rate, which currently stand at a range between 0% and 0.25%.

A few Fed officials already said they are expecting to raise rates as soon as late 2022, while scaling back asset purchases, or quantitative easing, could commence by the beginning of next year.

Chris Larkin, managing director at E-Trade Financial, said there is cause for optimism after the run-up for benchmarks in June.

“With inflation fears quelled for the moment and banks getting a clean bill of health late last week, the market looks to be in a good place,” he said, in emailed comments.

The strategist also cautioned prudence in expecting markets to climb much higher.

“Even if the market holds its year-to-date return through the end of the month, the SPX would enjoy its second-best first half of the year since 1998. So bottom line, bulls looking for further upside should keep in mind that its already been a heck of a year,” he said.

On the health front, the number of fully vaccinated Americans rose to 131 million, or 46.1% of the total population, according to the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, while the number of U.S. adults receiving at least one dose increased to 66%. However, in Australia, officials are battling to contain several COVID-19 clusters around the country, in what some experts have described as the nation’s most dangerous stage of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks to combat the delta variant of the COVID-19 strain.

Later in the session, banks will disclose how much money that they will be able to distribute to shareholders after passing the Fed’s stress tests last week.

On the housing front, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday rolled out new rules on foreclosures, starting in late August, that will give borrowers more time to become current on past-due mortgages and more options, including loan modifications and other remedies, to avoid foreclosures. “An unchecked wave of foreclosures would drain billions of dollars in wealth from the Black and Hispanic communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” the consumer watchdog said.

Investors heard more from Fed officials. Eric Rosengren, the president of the Boston Fed, expressed concern over the housing market in an interview with the Financial Times, and it comes as data show house prices soaring.

In cryptos, Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles said a central-bank digital dollar could pose considerable risk to the financial system.

Which companies are in focus?
How are other assets faring?
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y retreated by 7 basis points to 1.47%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was roughly flat.
  • Oil futures retreated, with the U.S. crude benchmark CL00 trading 1.4% lower at $72.98 a barrel. Gold futures GC00 closed higher, up 0.2% to settle at $1,780.70 an ounce.
  • In European equities, the pan-Continental Stoxx 600 SXXP closed 0.6% lower. London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.9%.
  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI all ended fractionally lower, falling less than 0.1%.

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