Stocks End Mixed Despite Upbeat Start to Q1 Earnings Season…..

U.S. stocks finished mixed, as investors analyzed upbeat results from Dow members JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs, as well as with Wells Fargo to unofficially kick off Q1 earnings season. Strength in financial issues boosted the Dow, while weakness in tech shares pressured the Nasdaq. Treasuries dipped to lift yields, following another hotter-than-expected read on March inflation in the form of import prices, and after the Fed’s Beige Book noted continued acceleration in economic activity. The U.S. dollar extended a recent rollover and crude oil prices were solidly higher, while gold traded lower. Overseas, markets in both Europe and Asia finished mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54 points (0.2%) to 33,731, the S&P 500 Index decreased 17 points (0.4%) to 4,125, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 138 points (1.0%) at 13,858. In moderate volume, 861 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 4.1 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil jumped $2.97 to $63.15 per barrel. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $8.82 lower at $1,736.69 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—lost 0.2% to 91.65.

Mortgage apps decline, import prices top forecasts, Fed reports on business activity…..

The Import Price Index rose 1.2% month-over-month (m/m) for March, versus the Bloomberg consensus estimate of a 0.9% gain, and compared to February’s unrevised 1.3% increase. Versus last year, prices were up by 6.9%, compared to forecasts of a 6.4% increase and February’s upwardly adjusted 3.1% gain.

The MBA Mortgage Application Index declined 3.7% last week, following the prior week’s 5.1% decrease. The downturn came as a 5.0% drop in the Refinance Index was met with a 1.4% fall for the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate declined 9 basis points (bps) to 3.27%.

In afternoon action, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book—an anecdotal read on the nation’s business activity that policymakers use to prepare for the next monetary policy meeting set to conclude on April 28. The report showed that, “National economic activity accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April,” with growth in consumer spending and upbeat reports on tourism and a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel. Most districts noted modest to moderate growth in economic activity, citing faster-than-expected expansion in vaccination trends. Regarding employment, the report noted a pickup in job growth, particularly in manufacturing, construction, leisure and hospitality.

Treasuries were mostly lower, with the yield on the 2-year note little changed at 0.16%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond rose 2 bps to 1.63% and 2.31%, respectively.

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