Stocks Edge Higher to Begin the Week…..

U.S. stocks closed the day higher, with the Nasdaq continuing to reach record highs and the S&P 500 turning positive for the year, as a busy earnings week got off to an optimistic start. More upbeat vaccine data out of the health care sector and news of another possible stimulus bill buoyed the market after a mixed morning and helped mitigate the persistent uneasiness surrounding the rise in new COVID-19 cases out of the U.S. In earnings news, Haliburton beat expectations but saw a plunge in revenues, while Cal-Maine swung to a profit on skyrocketing demand for eggs during the pandemic. In M&A news, Chevron agreed to acquire Noble Energy in an all-stock transaction. Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as AstraZeneca offered additional positive data on the progress of their respective vaccine candidates. Treasury yields were mostly lower as bond prices rose and the U.S. dollar dipped in choppy trading, with the economic calendar void of any major releases today and tomorrow, while crude oil prices were mostly higher and gold extended a rally. Markets in Europe closed mostly higher, while Asia finished the day mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9 points to 26,681, the S&P 500 Index increased 27 points (0.8%) to 3,252 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 264 points (2.5%) to 10,767. In moderate volume, 786 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 4.2 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil added $0.17 to $40.92 per barrel and wholesale gasoline gained $0.01 to $1.23 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $7.71 higher at $1,818.13 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was down 0.1% at 95.80.

Treasury yields lower amid empty economic calendar…..

Treasuries were slightly higher amid a dormant economic calendar. The yield on the 2-year note was little changed at 0.15%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond moved 2 basis points lower to 0.61% and 1.31%, respectively.

Treasury yields added to last week’s declines and the U.S. dollar has moderated from a soft patch as of late, while gold extended a recent rally to touch levels not seen in nine years and crude prices gained some ground. The moves come as the markets continue to grapple with the swings in the stock market and the uncertainty surrounding 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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