US indexes wobble in muted trading, hold near record highs

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writers

Stocks wobbled between small gains and losses on Wall Street Monday as investors pause after the market rallied to more record highs last week.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% as of 2:26 p.m. and was hovering close to the record it set on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 49 points, or 0.1%, to 35,110, also within striking distance of a new high, while the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Gains from consumer-oriented companies, banks and energy stocks were kept in check by declines in big technology and health care stocks. Best Buy rose 0.9%. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 2.2% and insurer UnitedHealth Group fell 1.3%.

Chinese technology companies slipped as China increases restrictions on internet apps and other companies. China’s industry ministry announced a 6-month campaign to clean up what it says are serious problems with internet apps violating consumer rights, cyber security and “disturbing market order.” Internet giant Tencent’s U.S.-listed shares slid 10.2% following orders by regulators to end exclusive contracts with music copyright holders.

The announcement pulled most indexes in Asia lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 4.1%, marking its biggest drop in more than a year, and the Shanghai Composite index fell 2.3%.

Investors are still monitoring a steady flow of corporate earnings this week and listening for any updates from the Federal Reserve about potential policy changes on bond purchases and interest rates. The central bank will meet this week and a statement on interest rate policy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Investors are looking for more information on how the Fed will react to continued economic growth, but with the virus pandemic still lingering as a threat. Wall Street expects the central bank to eventually taper its support, but is looking for clues on how much of a pullback will occur and how soon.

“The mood still revolves around inflation and whether it is transitory or not,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments.

A wide range of companies reported earnings. While the results have been mostly solid, Wall Street’s reaction has been mixed. Elevator maker Otis rose less than 1%, despite reporting solid financial results, while toymaker Hasbro jumped 12.6% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after handily beating analysts’ profit forecasts.

Electric vehicle maker Tesla will report its latest financial results after the market closes. Investors are awaiting earnings reports from several large companies this week. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will report earnings Tuesday, along with Apple and Microsoft. Pfizer and Boeing report their results on Wednesday.

Electric vehicle company Lucid Motors, now dubbed Lucid Group, rose 10.9% in its public debut after being bought by blank-check company Churchill Capital Corp.

The price of Bitcoin rose 14.9% to $39,602, according to Coindesk. Amazon is reportedly considering accepting it as payment and considering its own cryptocurrency for purchases.

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