Stock ETFs Remain Steady after a Strong Close Last Week

Stocks and index ETFs slipped from their fresh highs on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling for the first time in over a week, as traders adjust to the time change.

The Dow dipped about 0.1% after notching an intra-day high at the open. The S&P 500 dropped 0.15% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.15%. The two former indices are trading around breakeven, while the Nasdaq has increased its gains slightly, as of 12:30 PM EST.

Major stock ETFs are mixed Monday as well. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) is slightly higher, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) and Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) are both marginally lower.

While tech stocks were mixed, travel and leisure stocks, which stand to benefit from an economic reopening, gained. American Airlines and United Airlines shares climbed 7% and 8% respectively, and the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) surged 2.82% amid the moves.

Some of the moves higher in travel stocks and ETFs were in line with news that travel over the weekend hit its highest level in over a year as the coronavirus vaccine continues to roll out and Americans start their vacation plans.

Stimulus Is Officially En Route

In addition, as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that became law last week, the IRS began processing $1,400 direct payments for millions of Americans, which should help line the pockets of Americans looking to travel.

Stocks dipped to the lows of the day as a number of European nations suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns.

Meanwhile, bond yields continue to affect growth stocks, as the 10-year Treasury yield was trading around 1.616% on Monday, after hitting its highest level in more than a year on Friday.

“Bond yields remain the primary risk facing the stocks market,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, said. “However, they are calm so far this morning and as the speed of their recent advance pauses, it’s allowing investors to focus more on just how low yields remain overall.”

“Investors will have to continually grapple with the anxiety about economic overheating and Fed tightening that has gripped markets in recent weeks,” wrote David Kostin, Goldman’s chief U.S. equity strategist, in a note. “We believe equity valuations should be able to digest 10-year yields of roughly 2% without much difficulty.”

Last week was positive for the key benchmarks, despite some hiccups along the way, as the Dow added 4% and the S&P 500 rallied 2.6% to close at new highs on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite gained 3% last week as well, even after a sell-off on Friday catalyzed by climbing interest rates.

As interest rates continue to be a key mover for markets, investors will be eager to hear what the central bank has in mind on Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve will deliver its decision on interest rates. Bond pros are also monitoring whether Fed officials will adjust their interest rate outlook, which currently eschews any rate hikes through 2023.

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