Tech stocks resume skid as stimulus progress sparks next stage of value rotation

AP Photo/Richard Drew

  • US equities closed mixed on Monday as the Senate’s approval of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package revived investors’ rotation to value and cyclical stocks.
  • Tech giants and growth names whipsawed through the session before giving up gains as traders flocked elsewhere.
  • Oil tumbled from early gains after a Saudi Arabian crude terminal was attacked in a Sunday drone strike.
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US stocks were mixed on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrial average up over 300 points while the Nasdaq composite continued its slide after the Senate’s approval of a massive new relief package kicked off a new phase of the market-wide value rotation.

Senators voted along party lines on Saturday to push a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan closer to President Joe Biden’s desk. The package is expected to receive a final House vote later this week, giving Democrats time to enact an expansion to federal unemployment benefits before the current boost expires on March 14. The package also includes $1,400 direct payments, aid for state and local governments, and funding for vaccine distribution.

The package is widely expected to accelerate economic growth and lift inflation. The Senate vote’s renewed the mass exodus from defensive assets to riskier market plays. Investors temporarily bought the dip in tech stocks and lifted the sector before selling resumed and growth names whipsawed.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4 p.m. ET market close on Monday:

  • S&P 500: 3,821.22, down 0.54%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 31,801.91, up 0.97% (305.61 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 12,609.16, down 2.41%

Tech and communications stocks led the S&P 500’s decline, while materials, utilities, and financials outperformed. The Dow hit a record intraday high before paring gains.

The choppy session followed a broad market upswing to close out last week. Stocks rose on Friday as stronger-than-expected February payroll additions led investors to buy the dip in tech stocks. Government data also showed the unemployment rate falling to 6.2%, though other gauges of labor-market health remain at worrying highs.

Popular reopening plays saw some of the sesion’s biggest gains after the Centers for Disease Control announced those who have been fully vaccinated can safely socialize indoors without masks. Airlines including United, Delta, and American surged, as did hotel chains Hilton and MGM.

General Electric gained after The Wall Street Journal reported the company is nearing a deal to merge its jet-leasing arm with AerCap Holdings. The agreement, should it go through, would combine the world’s two largest aircraft financiers.

GameStop soared after the company announced board member Ryan Cohen would lead the firm’s transition from focusing on physical locations to building an e-commerce model.

Bitcoin traded around $51,500 after falling as low as 49,390 Monday morning. The token has failed to hold the $52,000 support level since falling from record highs in late February.

Treasurys broadly tumbled, bringing the 10-year yield to an intraday high of 1.613%. The US dollar strengthened against a basket of Group-of-20 currencies to its highest level in roughly four months.

Spot gold tumbled as much as 1.4%, to $1,676.89 per ounce, at intraday lows. The precious metal hadn’t traded below the $1,700 support level since June.

Oil erased early gains and dipped after a Saudi Arabian crude terminal was attacked by a drone on Sunday. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 2.3%, to $64.57 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 2.2%, to $67.81 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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