U.S. stocks ended mixed Monday, with a slump in shares of technology companies weighing on major indexes. The dollar rallied to its highest level in more than three months as the prospect of yields on benchmark U.S. Treasurys reaching 3 percent has reignited demand.
The fluctuations in equities were probably caused by "the 10-year bumping up against 3 percent," Gary Bradshaw, a portfolio manager at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, said by phone. "There's just been the volatility in the market that's got investors a little bit nervous. And there's the news on Apple and the chip stocks causing some consternation."
The S&P 500 index rose 0.15 point to 2,670.29. It rose as much as 12 points before midday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,448.69. The Nasdaq composite gave up 17.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,128.60. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks declined 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,562.12.
Stocks have faded over the past few days as bond yields continued to climb. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note continued to trade at four-year highs, rising to 2.98 percent from 2.96 percent. Bond yields have climbed this year as investors are starting to see signs that inflation is picking up and the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates. The 10-year yield stood at 2.43 percent at the end of 2017.
Since the global financial crisis in 2008-09, a combination of low inflation expectations and a bond-buying program by the Fed have helped keep bond yields low. That pushed stocks higher by making bonds less appealing by comparison. With the Fed no longer buying bonds and investors expecting greater inflation, analysts say higher yields could make bonds more attractive.
Duane McAllister, senior portfolio manager for Baird Advisors, said he doesn't think rising yields are a problem for the stock market. He said they are an opportunity for investors to diversify their holdings at a time of increased market volatility.
"Three percent is an important milestone on the continued trend toward higher interest rates," he said. "It shouldn't lead anyone, whether you're an individual investor or an institutional investor, to run for the hills."
Semiconductor stocks continued their slide from last week as another chipmaker reported weak earnings. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange semiconductor index fell 1.3 percent Monday, extending its four-day slide past 6 percent.
Walmart fell 1 percent after Bloomberg reported that the retailer might spend $12 billion to buy the majority of Indian e-commerce company FlipKart.
Health care products company Henry Schein jumped after it said it will spin off its animal health business. That division will combine with Vets FirstChoice as a new publicly traded company, and Henry Schein expects to get at least $1 billion in cash from the tax-free move. The stock gained 6.8 percent to $73.79.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil reversed an early loss and rose 0.4 percent to $68.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.9 percent to $74.71 per barrel in London. That helped energy companies finish higher. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.3 percent to $2.12 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.8 percent to $2.14 a gallon. Natural gas stayed at $2.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Information for this article was contributed by Marley Jay of The Associated Press.
Business on 04/24/2018
Print Headline: Stocks close mixed after tech slide