U.S. Stocks Are Mixed As Market Heads For A 5th Quarterly Gain

People walk through steam from a street grating outside the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as traders wait for the latest U.S. monthly jobs report due out Friday, July 2. The S&P 500 was little changed in the early going Wednesday, June 30. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Stocks were mixed Wednesday as traders await the latest U.S. monthly jobs report due out Friday. Even with the mixed performance, the market is on pace to close out its fifth straight winning quarter, continuing to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.1% as of 1:10 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up, 179 points, or 0.5%, to 34,471 and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.1%. At this rate the S&P 500 is on track to be up 14.4% for the first half of the year.

“We’re definitely in the doldrums of summer; volatility and volume will probably be pretty light,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede.

Slightly more stocks were rising than falling within the benchmark S&P 500, led by industrial companies and banks. Those gains were being offset by a slide in technology and communications companies.

Stocks have set their recent records on optimism that the economy is strengthening and that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for a while longer. Concerns about inflation earlier this year have dissipated somewhat, as investors have become increasingly convinced that the rise in prices for everything from food to oil to lumber is temporary and a result of the U.S. economy recovering from the pandemic.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.44% from 1.48%.

Inflation concerns have been receding through much of the quarter and that has helped push solid gains for technology companies. The sector is viewed as a high-growth area of the market, which tends to do better when inflation is low.

Technology stocks have been the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 this quarter with a 12.9% rise. Every sector is on track to post gains except utilities.

“Inflation expectations got too high,” Pride said. “When they backed off, that was kind of a natural thing.”

Meanwhile, some rising concerns over COVID-19 variants also prompted investors to put more money into the sector, which did particularly well during the height of the pandemic.

Investors got another dose of good economic news on Wednesday when payroll processor ADP said the private sector created 692,000 jobs last month. above economists’ forecasts. The big jobs data point will come on Friday, when the monthly jobs report is released. Economists are expecting employers created 675,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.7%.

A report released Tuesday showed a measure of confidence among U.S. consumers is continuing to rise, beating economists’ expectations for a slight decline. That’s key for an economy made up mostly of spending by consumers. A separate report showed that home prices across the country rose again in April, continuing their blistering pace.

By DAMIAN J. TROISE - Jun 30. 2021 - 1:29 PM ET



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