Wall Street mixed as buyers step to sidelines

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street started the week mixed on Monday as buyers stood on the sidelines on news of a global minimum corporate tax rate and lingering inflation fears, and a lack of market-moving catalysts.

FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

While the S&P 500 and the Dow were moderately lower, the Nasdaq was nominally green. But the indexes remained just below their record closing highs.

“The market is looking for direction,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. “It’s digesting Friday’s payrolls report and waiting for this week’s CPI data to come out and see what the Fed has to say.”

“It’s essentially trading near all-time highs and looking for what’s next,” Pavlik added.

Smallcaps outperformed as the ongoing retail frenzy boosted stocks whose recent explosive trading volumes have been attributed to social media buzz.

AMC Entertainment Holdings was the biggest gainer in the Russell 2000, surging by 16.4% and extending the previous week’s 85% gain.

Other so-called “meme stocks,” including GameStop Corp and U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry Ltd were also sharply higher, up 7% to 15%.

“It’s a bit of a sideshow,” Pavlik said. “An internet chat room can only go so far to support these names.”

“It’s great for people who own these stocks but you don’t want to be the last person at the dinner because then you’ll be stuck holding the bill.”

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies agreed on Saturday to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15%, a move Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called a “significant, unprecedented commitment” to bring what she called a race to the bottom on global taxation.

Lawmakers in Washington are doubling down on efforts to craft a bipartisan infrastructure spending package, with House Democrats expected to bring a bill to vote as early as Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 162.05 points, or 0.47%, to 34,594.34, the S&P 500 lost 10.8 points, or 0.26%, at 4,219.09 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.78 points, or 0.18%, at 13,839.27.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, seven were in negative territory, with materials suffering the largest percentage drop. Real estate led the gainers.

Shares of Biogen Inc surged 42.741.7% on news that the Food and Drug Administration approved its Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab.

Data center operator QTS Realty Trust jumped 21.0% on reports of a takeover deal by investment firm Blackstone Group worth $6.7 billion. {nL3N2NP2QW]

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean announced that six of its ships would begin sailing from Florida and Texas ports in July and August.

Its shares were last up 0.9%, while rivals Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line gained 1.0% and 2.5%, respectively.

Amazon.com fell 0.6% following a Bloomberg report that the company will be covered by the G7 tax deal despite thin margins.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.24-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.76-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 153 new highs and 18 new lows.

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