Stocks Close Mostly Higher Ahead of a Busy Week…..

U.S. equities began the week by closing mostly higher, as stocks geared up for a week that will include even more earnings results as well as a host of key economic events. The economic calendar for the week came alive earlier today and showed a rebound in durable goods orders for March that was well short of expectations, while regional manufacturing activity in the Dallas region moved further into expansion territory. Meanwhile, earnings season continued to shift into a higher gear, as today both Check Point Software Technologies and Otis Worldwide bested forecasts. However, concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in parts of the world continued to stymie conviction, and sentiment also seemed to remain skittish amid the continued battle over President Biden’s infrastructure spending plan. Treasuries were lower, placing upward pressure on yields, while the U.S. dollar was little changed, gold was higher in choppy action and crude oil prices were down. Asia finished mixed amid increased virus uneasiness in the region, and markets in Europe closed mostly higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 62 points (0.2%) to 33,982, the S&P 500 Index increased 7 points (0.2%) to 4,188, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 122 points (0.9%) at 14,139. In heavy volume, 813 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 4.4 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil lost $0.23 to $61.91 per barrel. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $3.77 higher at $1,780.97 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was little changed at 90.83.

Durable goods orders miss forecasts, regional manufacturing upbeat…..

March preliminary durable goods orders increased 0.5% month-over-month (m/m), versus the Bloomberg estimate of a 2.5% rise and compared to February’s upwardly revised 0.9% decline. Ex-transportation, orders rose 1.6% m/m, matching forecasts and compared to February’s favorably adjusted 0.3% decrease. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, were up 0.9%, compared to projections of a 1.8% rise, while the prior month’s figure was revised higher to a 0.8% decrease.

The April Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index moved further into expansion territory (a reading above zero). The index rose to 37.3 from the 28.9 posted in March and compared to forecasts of an increase to 30.0. Growth in new orders continued and employment accelerated sharply, while prices paid moved noticeably higher.

Treasuries were lower, as the yields on the 2-year note, 10-year note, and 30-year bond all ticked 1 basis point higher to 0.17%, 1.57%, and 2.24%, respectively.

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