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Markets Live, Monday 22 February, 2021

Markets Live, Monday 22 February, 2021
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The stay-at-home winners, including Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet’s Google and Netflix Inc, fell in a trend seen for most of the week. Amazon.com Inc also fell, as investors sold the leaders in the big rally since last March.

Value stocks rose 0.6 per cent while growth fell 0.6 per cent. Advancing stocks led declining shares by about a 2:1 ratio.

A battle continues between tech-led growth stocks and cyclicals, companies that are heavily affected by economic conditions, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“When the economy is roaring, they’re roaring. When the economy is weakening, they’re weakening,” Ghriskey said of cyclicals.

“The economy will roar, at least for a period of time. There’s huge pent-up demand, whether just for travel or going back to work.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up just 0.98 points, essentially flat, to 31,494.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.11 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 13,874.46. The S&P 500 dropped 7.26 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 3,906.71.

Volume on US exchanges was 13.47 billion shares.

Strong earnings, progress in vaccination rollouts and hopes of a $US1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package helped U.S. stock indexes hit record highs at the start of the week.

The Dow hit an all-time intraday peak, led by Caterpillar, after Deere raised its 2021 earnings forecast. Deere reported profit more than doubled in the first quarter on rising demand for farm and construction machinery.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq posted their first weekly declines this month on concerns over higher stock market valuations, and expectations of rising inflation led to fears of a short-term pullback in equities.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 per cent while the S&P 500 fell 0.7 per cent and the Nasdaq slid 1.6 per cent as big tech sold off.

Bank of America expects a more than 10% pullback in stocks, which are trading at more than 22 times 12-month forward earnings, the most expensive since the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

“What we saw (this week) represents a market that is tired and may not do very much. So we are headed for some sort of a pullback, but I don’t think we’re there just yet,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

On the economic front, data showed IHS Markit’s flash U.S. composite PMI, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, inched up to 58.8 in February.

Reuters



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