S&P 500 set to ease from record level as tech stocks weigh

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set to open lower on Friday as a rise in U.S. bond yields weighed on richly valued tech stocks a day after the S&P 500 set a record closing high.

FILE PHOTO: American flags hang from the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Weaker-than-expected labor market data on Thursday eased inflation worries and validated the U.S. Federal Reserve’s accommodative stance, lifting the tech-heavy Nasdaq 1% higher and powering the S&P 500 to a record close.

Investors are focused on the start of the earnings season next week. Analysts expect profits for S&P 500 firms to jump about 25% year on year, the strongest first-quarter performance since 2018, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

“We have had a tremendous run recently and there’s some excitement about how strong corporate America’s earnings will be,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It is a chance to justify the rallies that we have seen recently to new highs.”

Big U.S. lenders including Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co that report results next week gained between 0.5% and 1% in premarket trading.

President Joe Biden will release his first budget proposal to Congress on Friday, offering a long-awaited glimpse into a policy agenda that will mark a sharp departure from his predecessor, Donald Trump.

At 08:58 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 48 points, or 0.14%, S&P 500 E-minis were down 4 points, or 0.11%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 88.25 points, or 0.64%.

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High-flying Inc, Apple Inc. Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc were down between 0.4% and 0.8% as yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury ticked higher to 1.68%.

Still, the Russell 1000 growth index, which consists heavily of tech-related stocks, is set to outperform its value counterpart, comprising mostly financials and energy names, for the second consecutive week on a recent pullback in the yield.

The Nasdaq is within 2% of its February record level.

“This week is a reminder that technology is not dead. It’s still a group that has a lot of explosive growth and it’s a nice change for investors who felt some pain from techs’ under performance earlier this year,” Detrick said.

Bank of America’s weekly fund flow figures showed investors have pumped more money into equities over the past five months than in the last 12 years, as ultra-easy monetary policies and unprecedented stimulus have sparked a secular shift into stocks.

Honeywell gained about 2.2% as Jefferies and J.P. Morgan raised their price targets on the U.S. aero parts maker’s shares.

Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

Source: Reuters

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