Dow, S&P 500 rally to records, boosted by strong economic data

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, as a round of strong economic data on the labor market and services sector buoyed investor optimism for the economic reopening and a muted climb in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield kept inflation worries at bay.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. flag flies outside The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

An ISM survey for March showed a measure of U.S. services industry activity jumped to a record high. The data followed Friday’s report showing U.S. nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs in March, trouncing forecasts.

Investors have bet on sectors poised to lead an economic reopening, such as energy, financials and materials. A climbing yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has dented appetite for technology stocks.

Despite strong economic data, gains were led by sectors that have underperformed recently, including communication services, consumer discretionary and tech, as the 10-year yield remained below a 14-month high hit last week.

“One of the fears in March was that the rise in rates meant you need to take multiples down,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.

“It’s not the reopening trade at this point, it is higher interest rates are here but not accelerating so the whole economy is being lifted.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 385.96 points, or 1.16%, to 33,539.17, the S&P 500 gained 59.11 points, or 1.47%, to 4,078.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 234.78 points, or 1.74%, to 13,714.89.

With speedy vaccinations and additional government stimulus helping the S&P 500 and the Dow clinch all-time highs, focus now turns to progress on a massive infrastructure plan and the upcoming corporate earnings season.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is still about 4% below its February high as the recent spike in bond yields spurred inflation concerns and made growth stocks less attractive.

Energy shares were the worst performing sector, following a sharp drop in oil prices. Reopening plays gained, as the S&P 1500 airlines index jumped 3.43% after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can safely travel at “low risk.” The agency had held off for weeks on revising guidance that discouraged all non-essential trips.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she was working with G20 countries to agree on a global corporate minimum tax rate to end a “30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.”

Tesla Inc shares climbed 5.70% as one of the biggest boosts to the S&P after the world’s most valuable automaker posted record deliveries.

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