February 26, 2021
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The tech-heavy Nasdaq index rallied in choppy trading on Friday, even as sentiment remained fragile after the index’s worst performance in four months the day before as fears of rising inflation kept U.S. bond yields near a one-year high.
The S&P 500 ended little changed, while the Dow index closed lower after earlier dropping to a three-week low. The Dow still posted gains of nearly 4% for the month, as investors bought into cyclical companies set to benefit from an economic reopening.
Nasdaq, which had its worst week since October, ended the month roughly 1% higher while the S&P 500 posted a monthly gain of about 2.6%.
Shares of Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc rose between 0.2% to 1.4% on Friday but had their worst week in months due to a sharp rise in U.S. Treasury yields.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield eased to 1.404% after jumping to 1.614% on Thursday, roiling stock markets. [US/] Wall Street’s fear gauge hovered at a one-month high.
Tech stocks are particularly sensitive to rising yields because their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when interest rates go up.
“There’s no question that the path in rates today is higher,” said Andrew Mies, chief investment officer at 6 Meridian.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 469.64 points lower, or 1.5%, to 30,932.37, the S&P 500 lost 18.19 points, or 0.48%, to 3,811.15 and the Nasdaq Composite added 72.91 points, or 0.56%, to 13,192.34.
Financials and energy shares, the best performing S&P sectors this month, slipped 2% and 2.3% on Friday. Technology stocks rose 0.6% and semiconductor stocks advanced 2.3%.
“There are a few tailwinds for stocks that we shouldn’t lose sight of,” Mies said, citing President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package before Congress.
The S&P 500 value index dropped 1.3% while the growth index rose 0.3% in a reversal of this month’s trend.
An early surge in the shares of GameStop Corp fizzled and left the video game retailer’s stock down 6.4% on Friday, throwing water on a renewed rally this week that has left analysts puzzled.
On the economic front, the latest data showed U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in January but price pressures remained muted.
Salesforce.com Inc dropped 6.3% as the online software company forecast full-year profit below market expectations.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 15.54 billion shares on Friday, compared with the 15.40 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.73-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted four new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 54 new highs and 50 new lows.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)