Market Snapshot: Dow trades above record close amid tentative stock-market gains

Stock indexes early Monday were trading mixed, with the Dow edging above its record close, as investors searched for reasons to drive equities to all-time highs a week ahead of a key meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

What are major indexes doing?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average

    rose 46 points, or 0.1%, to 34,807, trading above its May 7 all-time closing high at 34,777.76.
  • The S&P 500 index

    was trading flat at 4,229, just off its record closing high at 4,232.60, also put in on May 7.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index

    fell by about 10 points, or less than 0.1%, to reach 13,807, off 2.3% from its record high at 14,138.78, which was hit on April 26.

On Friday, stocks rose following a May jobs report that came in below expectations but showed a significant pickup in job creation from April. The Dow rose 0.7% for the week, while the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%.

What’s driving the market?

“There seems to be widespread relief from the soft payrolls numbers as the solid but underwhelming jobs recovery has created a goldilocks scenario for the U.S. economy where the Fed can afford to take its time before rushing in to turn off the stimulus taps,” said Raffi Boyadjian, senior investment analyst at XM, in a note.

At the same time, “it’s becoming increasingly difficult for investors to ignore the hints that tapering is moving closer to the horizon and the lingering uncertainty could keep stock markets in check until clearer signals emerge,” he said.

Read: Taper tantrum? Only if somebody wakes the U.S. bond market

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview Sunday that it would be OK if President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion spending plans lift inflation and lead to higher rates.

“We’ve been fighting inflation that’s too low and interest rates that are too low now for a decade,” she told Bloomberg. “We want them to go back to” a normal environment, “and if this helps a little bit to alleviate things then that’s not a bad thing — that’s a good thing.”

The May consumer-price index is scheduled for release on Thursday morning. A jump in the April reading last month rattled investors last month.

Economic Preview: U.S. inflation is still climbing and now higher labor costs are adding to the pressure

The Group of Seven wealthy democracies agreed Saturday to support a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%, a move designed to deter multinational companies from avoiding taxes by stashing profits in low-rate countries. The plan must overcome hurdles to implementation, however, including a divided U.S. Congress.

Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., were set to meet again Monday in an attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure spending. Biden on Friday rejected an offer by Capito to add around $50 billion to Senate Republicans’ $928 billion plan. Biden, who last week cut the size of his infrastructure proposal to $1.7 trillion, told the lawmaker he wants at least $1 trillion in new spending over current levels versus $250 billion in the Republican plan, according to reports.

The economic calendar is light Monday, with April consumer-credit data due at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Tesla Inc.

    will pull the plug on its Model S Plaid Plus electric car, Chief Executive Elon Musk said Sunday, because the regular Plaid is “so good.” Tesla shares were down 1.3%.
  • A group of private-equity firms reached a deal to acquire Medline Industries Inc. that would value the medical-supply company at more than $30 billion, in one of the largest leveraged buyouts since the financial crisis. Medline said Saturday that Blackstone Group Inc.
    Carlyle Group Inc.

    and Hellman & Friedman LLC had reached a deal to take a majority stake in the company.
  • Apple Inc.’s

    annual Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, begins Monday as Apple awaits a ruling on a lawsuit brought by Epic Games, the maker of the popular “Fortnite” game. Shares of Apple were off 0.4%.
How are other assets faring?
  • The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y was at 1.576%, compared with 1.559% on Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was down less than 0.1%.
  • Oil futures CL00 traded slightly lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery

    off 13 cents, or 0.2%, at $69.47 a barrel. Gold futures GC00 for August delivery

    climbed by $18.70, or 1%, to $1,889.50 an ounce.
  • In European equities trading, the pan-Continental Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP rose 0.2% Friday, extending a record climb after booking a weekly gain of 0.8%. London’s FTSE 100 UKX rose 0.4%, following a 0.7% weekly gain.
  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite

    added 0.2%, while the Hang Seng Index

    slipped by 0.5%; Japan’s Nikkei 225

    rose 0.3%.

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