The Nasdaq has closed at a record high after investors moved into mega-cap growth stocks even as a new round of COVID-19 restrictions underscored the continuing economic impact of the pandemic on the United States.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced to close at a record on Monday as several of its largest constituents, including Apple and Facebook, rose. Still, a decline in names such as Alphabet and Microsoft kept major averages in check.
Large-cap growth stocks, which had underperformed value stocks in recent weeks as investors looked to names likely to benefit from a reopened economy, edged up 0.36 per cent while value lost 0.56 per cent.
Authorities in California on Monday compelled much of its residents to close shop and stay at home the day after it reported a record 30,000-plus new coronavirus cases.
Recent economic data indicating the economy has slowed as previous fiscal stimulus has dried up has highlighted the need for a new congressional relief package, with Friday eyed as a possible deadline when a funding measure for the government expires.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 148.47 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 30,069.79, the S&P 500 lost 7.16 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 3,691.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 55.71 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 12,519.95.
Weighing heavily on value names were energy stocks, as the S&P 500 energy index was the worst performing among the 11 major sectors, down 2.44 per cent as oil prices slipped. The sector had been the best performer this quarter, climbing nearly 30 per cent.
Investors are closely tracking developments on the passage of a long-awaited coronavirus relief bill after months of deadlocked negotiations between Republicans and Democrats.
Promising vaccine updates from major drug makers have raised investor hopes for an economic recovery next year and have eased worries over a surge in US infections, powering Wall Street’s main indices to record highs recently.
Wall Street followed a more cautious move in global stocks earlier in the session after Washington imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on some Chinese officials over their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong last month.
But with President-elect Joe Biden due to take office on January 20, analysts see fresh stimulus and a vaccine rollout as a more pressing concern in the near term.
Intel Corp fell 3.43 per cent and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after Bloomberg News reported Apple was planning a series of new Mac processors for introduction as early as 2021 that are aimed at outperforming Intel’s fastest processors.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.28-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.07-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 257 new highs and 9 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 10.76 billion shares, compared with the 11.81 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.