NEW YORK CITY, RAW – The S&P 500 has risen and the blue-chip Dow has hit a record high after tepid consumer price data for February calmed inflation worries and Congress gave final approval to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in US history.
A rotation into sectors such as energy and financials continued on Wednesday, both in small- and large-cap stocks, as investors bet on consumer spending when the US economy reopens and sold the big tech names that have fuelled the rally since last March.
An expected economic surge once the coronavirus vaccines are rolled out along with the monster fiscal stimulus have triggered inflation fears and a spike in Treasury yields, leading the Nasdaq to tumble as much as 12 per cent from its February 12 record close.
But an auction of $US38 billion in benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was not as bad as feared as underlying inflation remained muted, helping push yields down to a session low of 1.506 per cent.
The move away from Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp, all down on the day, led small-cap stocks to rise more than double the gains of the S&P 500.
Also helping lift equities are rising estimates for US corporate profitability this year following surprisingly strong fourth-quarter earnings and growing optimism about the recovery.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.45 per cent to end at 32,295.71 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.60 per cent to 3,898.73.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.04 per cent to 13,068.83.
Shares of Roblox Corp jumped 54 per cent at one point in its New York Stock Exchange trading debut, valuing the US gaming company at more than $US42 billion and making it one of the most active stocks on the NYSE.
The Nasdaq closed lower in choppy trade after logging its best one-day percentage jump in four months on Tuesday.
The sweeping $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the US House of Representatives gave President Joe Biden his first major victory in office.
Some of the $US1,400 in payments heading to most Americans could end up in the stock market and could provide a boost for GameStop and other stocks popular among retail investors active in online social media forums.
Trading in GameStop gyrated wildly after multiple NYSE trading halts as shares of the video game retailer and other so-called meme stocks approached levels last seen during their late January rally.
Among other “meme” stocks, Koss Corp soared, rising as much as 70 per cent before the bell.