Stocks Falter to Begin the Week…..

U.S. stocks closed lower as persistent worries over COVID-19 and elevated political tensions in the U.S. knocked equities back from last week’s record highs. Carrying over some of the concerns following last week’s chaotic scenes at the Capitol, political tensions remained high as Democrats pressed to have President Donald Trump impeached for the second time, while several tech companies took steps to ban the President from utilizing their platforms. Meanwhile, a slower-than-expected rollout of several vaccines in the U.S. and further upticks in cases of COVID-19 continued to cause trepidation for investors. The day was light on major economic releases; however, later in the week the economic calendar will heat up, with key reads on the all-important consumer due out. In equity news, Eli Lilly announced positive results from a mid-stage trial of its Alzheimer’s treatment, Lululemon and Gilead Sciences offered positive guidance and the Street appeared to cheer Chinese electric-car maker Nio’s plans announced over the weekend. Treasuries modestly extended last week’s sharp drop that took the yield on the 10-year note above the 1.0% mark for the first time since March. The U.S. dollar continued to bounce back after a tumble, while gold was slightly lower and crude oil prices were mixed. Asia finished mixed, but Japan was closed for a holiday, and Europe pared back some of last week’s gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89 points (0.3%) to 31,009, the S&P 500 Index was down 25 points (0.7%) at 3,800, and the Nasdaq Composite decreased 166 points (1.3%) to 13,036. In heavy volume, 962 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 6.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil added $0.01 to $52.25 per barrel. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $3.17 lower to $1,845.84 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.5% higher at 90.51.

Treasury yields modestly add to last week’s rise…..

Treasuries slightly extended last week’s drop that took the yield on the 10-year note above the 1.0% mark for the first time since March, while the U.S. dollar continued to bounce off a level not seen since the Spring of 2018. The yield on the 2-year note rose 1 basis point (bp) to 0.15%, the 10-year note ticked 2 bps higher at 1.14%, and the 30-year bond was little changed at 1.88%.

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