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Markets

Nasdaq pressured by rising yields; Tesla, Merck limit declines

  • Merck up on COVID-19 pill, Tesla lifted by record deliveries
  • Fresh round of US-China trade talks eyed
  • Indexes: Dow flat, S&P down 0.37%, Nasdaq falls 1.16%
04 Oct, 2021

The Nasdaq index fell on Monday as most big technology stocks were pressured by an uptick in Treasury yields, while declines on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones were countered by gains in shares of Tesla and Merck.

US Treasury yields have been supported by recent data showing increased consumer spending, accelerated factory activity and elevated inflation growth, fuelling bets that the Federal Reserve could start tightening its accommodative monetary policy sooner than expected.

High-flying companies including Apple Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc fell between 0.9% and 3.9%.

The S&P 500 technology and communication services sectors tumbled more than 1.5% each, leading declines among the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes.

"In the rising rate environment, historically you've been rewarded being in the economically sensitive value and cyclical stocks, relative to tech. That's not to say tech will collapse, it's just to say that the cyclicals should do better in coming months," said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

"Markets are really focused on Washington and the uncertainty of their being unable to come to an agreement on the infrastructure bill, social spending plan and raising the debt limit."

Wall Street rises, but tracks steep monthly losses

Keeping declines on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average at bay were shares of Merck & Co , which added 3.2%, building on gains from Friday after developing an experimental antiviral pill for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19.

Tesla Inc rose 2.6% after it had delivered a record electric cars in the third quarter, beating Wall Street estimates on Saturday.

Wall Street's main indexes were battered in September, hit by worries about the US debt ceiling, the fate of a massive infrastructure spending bill and the meltdown of heavily indebted China Evergrande Group.

Markets also awaited US President Joe Biden's new plan on China trade strategy, with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai set for new talks with Beijing later in the day over its failure to keep promises made in a "Phase 1" trade deal struck with former President Donald Trump.

At 9:44 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.99 points, or 0.01%, at 34,330.45, the S&P 500 was down 16.02 points, or 0.37%, at 4,341.02 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 168.49 points, or 1.16%, at 14,398.21.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 65 new lows.

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