Dow, S&P higher on support from energy shares even as tech struggles

This post was originally published on this site

By Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) -Gains in energy stocks pushed the Dow Jones index higher on Monday and kept the S&P 500 in positive territory, with focus shifting to potential changes to corporate taxes and a clutch of data this week.

The Nasdaq, however, was pulled lower by a drop in major technology stocks, putting it on track for a fourth straight day of losses, as more regulations on major Chinese firms soured investor appetite.

Apple Inc was among the top boosts to the tech-heavy index, rising 0.5% after a mixed court ruling in Epic Games’ antitrust case against the iPhone maker knocked nearly $90 billion off its market value on Friday.

Sector-wise, the S&P energy was the best performer, gaining 3% as oil prices hit a one-week high on concerns over U.S. supply. Financial stocks rose 1%. [O/R]

Oil majors also got a boost after the U.S. government agreed to sell crude oil from the country’s emergency reserve to eight companies, including Chevron Corp and ExxonMobil Corp.

Investors are expected to keep a close watch on data, including a report on consumer prices in August, due for release on Tuesday, that is likely to offer some cues on the Federal Reserve’s decision on policy tightening. A Reuters poll expects the reading to be steady from July.

The Biden government’s corporate tax hike plan and a Democrat-backed $3.5 trillion spending bill is also likely to be a point of focus this week.

“Current stock market valuations don’t provide enough cushion for several near-term headwinds that are on the horizon, including the potential for tax hikes, negative profit warnings from companies and upcoming Fed tapering,” said Richard Saperstein, chief investment officer, Treasury Partners.

Markets are set for near-term volatility, and that the next six weeks tend to be seasonally weak for stocks, Saperstein added.

Goldman Sachs analysts are predicting that a hike in the U.S. domestic corporate tax rate to 25% and the passage of about half of a proposed increase to tax rates on foreign income would reduce S&P 500 earnings by 5% in 2022.

At 11:50 am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 258.79 points, or 0.75% , to 34,866.51, the S&P 500 gained 2.58 points, or 0.06 %, to 4,461.16 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 46.45 points, or 0.31 %, to 15,069.05.

Although a surge in economically sensitive stocks has put the S&P 500 on a seven-month winning streak this year, a recent spike in infections due to the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant has dampened hopes of an economic recovery and threatened to derail the rally.

Market participants expect stocks to undergo a major correction by the end of the year after a strong bull run.

Among individual movers, biotechnology firm Regenxbio Inc surged nearly 30% after it entered into a partnership with peer AbbVie to develop and sell a gene therapy candidate for the treatment of chronic retinal diseases.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a about a 1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 68 new lows.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D’Silva)