Tech Lifts S&P 500, Nasdaq; Indexes Post Gains for Quarter

Wall Street
FILE PHOTO: American flags hang from the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, boosted by gains in technology shares, and the three major Wall Street indexes registered their fourth straight quarterly rise as investors looked forward to details of President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure plan. 

Bets on a strong economic rebound supported Wall Street during the quarter even as investors got jittery about a retail trading frenzy, a spike in Treasury yields and a U.S. hedge fund going bust. 

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 came close to hitting 4,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 technology index led sector gains, while the energy sector fell and was the weakest sector on the day.

“The trend we’re seeing today is investors rotating back into growth-oriented names that have gotten a little bit beaten up over the past few weeks or so due to underlying rotation toward the economic reopening stocks,” said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer at RDM Financial Group at Hightower.

Some cyclical sectors could also be taking a breather from their rise because of recent strength in the dollar, he said.

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For the quarter, the Nasdaq underperformed the other two major indexes as investors swapped growth-oriented stocks with underpriced shares deemed to benefit most from a full economic reopening. High-flying tech names have been hit by a surge in U.S. 10-year bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.41 points, or 0.26%, to 32,981.55, the S&P 500 gained 14.34 points, or 0.36%, to 3,972.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 201.48 points, or 1.54%, to 13,246.87.

For the quarter, the Dow gained about 8%, the S&P 500 rose 6% and the Nasdaq increased 3%. For the month, the Dow added about 7%, the S&P 500 rose 4% and the Nasdaq gained just 0.4%.

Biden’s $3 trillion-$4 trillion infrastructure package will target traditional projects like roads and bridges alongside investments in the electric vehicle market.

The size and scale of the proposal, as well as how to pay for it, should set the stage for the next partisan clash in Congress. 

Apple Inc rose 1.9% after brokerage UBS upgraded the stock to “buy” on stable long-term demand for iPhones with better authorized service providers.

Walgreens Boots Alliance advanced 3.6% after raising its 2021 profit forecast on higher sales at its U.S. retail pharmacy stores.

On the economic front, U.S. private employers boosted hiring in March as more Americans got vaccinated against COVID-19. The payroll report was in line with the recent signs of improvement in the labor market and comes ahead of a more comprehensive monthly jobs report on Friday.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.79-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 68 new highs and 18 new lows.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Additional reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur; Reuters

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