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Markets

S&P 500, Nasdaq weighed down by spike in bond yields

  • Ulta Beauty slumps as revenue forecast disappoints.
  • Benchmark yields approach one-year highs.
  • Three major indexes set for best week in six.
  • Indexes: Dow up 0.48%, S&P down 0.22%, Nasdaq drops 1.09%.
12 Mar 2021

The S&P 500 slipped on Friday after hitting an all-time high in the prior session, as a spike in US bond yields revived inflation worries and dented appetite for high-growth stocks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 1.1% after rebounding more than 6% over the past three sessions, while the blue-chip Dow, on the other hand, was closing in on its fifth consecutive record high.

Wall Street's main indexes are set for their best week in six after one of the largest US fiscal stimulus bills was signed into law and data reinforced views that the economy was on the path to a recovery.

A consistent rise in US bond yields has raised fears of a sudden tapering of monetary stimulus, pressuring the main US stock indexes in recent weeks.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year notes rose back above 1.60% on Friday to approach the one-year highs touched last week.

"The risks of inflation picking up have increased significantly due to a jump in money supply through stimulus and the anticipated demand that we might see as the economy slowly unlocks," said Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital in London.

Speedy vaccine distribution and more fiscal aid have also added to concerns of higher inflation despite assurances from the Federal Reserve to maintain an accommodative policy. All eyes will now be on the central bank's policy meeting next week for further cues on inflation.

US consumer sentiment improved more than expected in March, hitting its highest level in a year, a survey by the University of Michigan showed on Friday.

At 10:10 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 155.74 points, or 0.48%, to 32,641.33, the S&P 500 lost 8.83 points, or 0.22 %, to 3,930.51 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 146.37 points, or 1.09 %, to 13,252.31.

The Nasdaq has been particularly hit by the sell-off in recent weeks and confirmed a correction at the start of the week as investors swapped richly valued technology stocks with those of energy, mining and industrials companies that are poised to benefit more from an economic rebound.

The yield-sensitive group of Facebook Inc Apple Inc , Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc, Google-parent Alphabet Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp were down between 1% and 3%.

Tech, communication services and consumer discretionary indexes, which house these mega-cap stocks, slipped the most among major S&P sectors.

Banks jumped about 2%, while financials, industrials clinched new record levels.

Ulta Beauty Inc slumped about 11% after the cosmetics retailer forecast annual revenue below estimates, as demand for make-up products were under pressure due to extended work-from-home policies.

The company also named President Dave Kimbell as its new chief executive officer.

US-listed shares of China-based JD.com Inc dropped nearly 6% after three sources said it is in talks to buy part or all of a stake in brokerage Sinolink Securities worth at least $1.5 billion.

Declining issues matched advancers on the NYSE by a 1.5-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 54 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 347 new highs and 10 new lows.