Stocks Lose Steam Late Ahead of Key Earnings Reports…..

U.S. stocks gave back early gains in late day action before closing the day mixed to begin a busy week. The uneasiness pertaining to the continued rise of new COVID-19 cases out of the U.S. persisted as Los Angeles school district announced public schools would not open in the fall and the California Governor closed indoor operations for certain businesses in 30 counties. The news out of California took some of the shine off Dow member Pfizer and BioNTech receiving Fast Track designation from the FDA for their vaccine candidates. In other equity news, PepsiCo posted upbeat earnings results and Analog Devices agreed to acquire Maxim Integrated Products in a $21.0 billion all-stock transaction. Financials will be watched tomorrow as the country’s largest banks are set to unofficially kick off earnings season. Treasury yields were lower as bond prices rose and the U.S. dollar traded lower, with the economic calendar void of any major releases today before heating up as the week matures. Crude oil prices were lower and gold continued to find demand. Asia and Europe closed higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11 points to 26,086, the S&P 500 Index decreased 30 points (0.9%) to 3,155 and the Nasdaq Composite receded 227 points (2.1%) to 10,391. In moderately-heavy volume, 1.0 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 4.8 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil lost $0.45 to $40.10 per barrel and wholesale gasoline decreased $0.01 to $1.27 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price gained $3.29 to $1,801.99 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was down 0.1% at 96.53.

Treasury yields pulled back last week, along with the U.S. dollar, but gold extended a rally and touched a near nine-year high and crude prices were little changed. The moves came as the markets grappled with the volatility in the stock market and the implications of the persistent rise in COVID-19 cases, along with the backdrop of the flood of monetary and fiscal policy relief measures and progress on finding an answer to the pandemic.

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