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U.S. Stocks Close Mostly Higher Amid Drop By Treasury Yields

wallstreet aug14 22mar21 lt

Following the mixed performance seen last Friday, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. The major averages all moved to the upside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a particularly strong advance.

The major averages gave back some ground going into the close but remained in positive territory. The Dow rose 103.23 points or 0.3 percent to 32,731.20, the Nasdaq jumped 162.30 points or 1.2 percent to 13,377.54 and the S&P 500 climbed 27.49 points or 0.7 percent to 3,940.59.

The strength on Wall Street came as traders kept a close eye on activity in the bond market, with a decrease by treasury yields generating buying interest in high-growth companies.

After hovering near its highest levels in over a year in the previous session, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note pulled back below 1.7 percent.

The drop in yields, which move opposite of prices, came as treasuries benefited from their appeal as a safe haven amid turmoil in the Turkish lira and concerns over rising Covid-19 cases in Europe.

The Turkish lira slumped toward a record low versus the U.S. dollar after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ousted central bank chief Naci Agbal for hiking interest rates to contain double-digit inflation.

Overall trading activity was somewhat subdued, however, as traders looked ahead to two days of Congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Powell is set to testify about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, with the Fed chief appearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing existing home sales in the U.S. tumbled by much more than expected in the month of February.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 6.6 percent to an annual rate of 6.22 million in February after inching up by 0.2 percent to a downwardly revised rate of 6.66 million in January.

Economists had expected existing home sales to slump by 3.0 percent to a rate of 6.49 million from the 6.69 million originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index jumping by 2.2 percent.

Software, computer hardware and biotechnology stocks also saw considerable strength, contributing to the advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

On the other hand, airline stocks moved sharply lower, resulting in a 4.1 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Banking stocks also showed a notable move to the downside on the day, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 2.3 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plunged by 2.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

The major European markets also ended the day mixed. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both rose by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved to the upside after ending last Friday's trading nearly unchanged. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 4.8 basis points to 1.684 percent.

Looking Ahead

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee is likely to attract attention on Tuesday along with a report on new home sales in the month of February.

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