Nasdaq, S&P 500 Reach Record Closing Highs, Dow Closes Modestly Lower

With technology stocks helping to lead the way higher, the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed in positive territory on Monday. Both indexes reached new record closing highs, although the narrower Dow closed slightly lower.

While the Dow edged down 61.92 points or 0.2 percent to 33,981.57, the Nasdaq advanced 121.97 points or 0.9 percent to 14,138.78 and the S&P 500 rose 7.45 points or 0.2 percent to 4,187.62.

The strength among tech stocks came as traders expressed optimism ahead of the release of quarterly results from a number of big-name companies.

Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) are all scheduled to report their quarterly results this week.

Overall buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy, but traders will be paying close attention to any changes to the accompanying statement that may signal a shift in the near future.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods increased by much less than expected in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose by 0.5 percent in March after falling by a revised 0.9 percent in February.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 2.5 percent compared to the 1.2 percent slump that had been reported for the previous month.

The much weaker than expected durable goods orders growth was partly due to a continued decrease in orders for transportation equipment.

Sector News

Steel stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 3 percent to its best closing level in nearly ten years.

Considerable strength was also visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

The rally by oil service stocks came despite a decrease by the price of crude oil, with crude for June delivery slipping $0.23 to $61.91 a barrel.

Biotechnology stocks also saw significant strength on the day, resulting in a 1.9 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.

Semiconductor, airline and housing stocks also showed notable moves to the upside, while some weakness was visible among tobacco and utilities stocks.

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 rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction after recovering from initial weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, crept up by less than a basis point to 1.570 percent.

Looking Ahead

Earnings news is likely to be in focus on Tuesday, with Tesla (TSLA) among the companies releasing their quarterly results after the close of today’s trading.

3M (MMM), BP (BP), Eli Lilly (LLY), General Electric (GE), Hasbro (HAS), and UPS (UPS) are also among the companies due to the report their results before the start of trading on Tuesday.

On the U.S. economic front, traders are likely to keep an eye on the latest reports on home prices and consumer confidence.

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