Stocks were flat on Monday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hovering near record highs on optimism about the economic reopening.
The Dow rose about 60 points after hitting a daily high in the Open. The S&P 500 was trading around the flatline and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.4%.
Stocks, which will benefit the most from a quick economic comeback from the pandemic, drove the gains. American Airlines and United Airlines stocks rose 7% and 8%, respectively.
As part of the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package that went into law last week, the IRS began processing $ 1,400 in direct payments for millions of Americans, which is expected to add juice to the already recovering economy.
Air traffic over the weekend hit its highest level in more than a year when the Covid-19 vaccine was introduced and Americans went back on vacation.
Stocks hit their lows when Italy, along with France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands stopped using the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University because of blood clot concerns.
The 10-year Treasury yield was trading at 1.611% on Monday after hitting its highest level in more than a year on Friday. The surge in bond yields has challenged growth stocks for the past few weeks, dragging investors into cyclical pockets of the market.
“Bond yields remain the main risk to the stock market,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group. “They are calm until this morning, however, and as the pace of their recent advance slows, investors can focus more on how low overall returns remain.”
“Investors will continually grapple with the fear of economic overheating and Fed tightening that have gripped markets over the past few weeks,” David Kostin, Goldman’s chief US equities strategist, wrote in a note. “We believe stock valuations should be able to digest 10-year returns of around 2% with little difficulty.”
Shares rose last week, the Dow rose 4% and the S&P 500 rose 2.6%. The S&P 500 and the Dow both closed at record highs on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite was up 3% last week despite a sell-off on Friday triggered by rising interest rates.
Investors will prepare for Wednesday when the Federal Reserve will make its rate decision. The central bank is expected to recognize much better economic growth. Bond professionals are also watching to see if Fed officials will tweak their interest rate outlook, which now doesn’t include rate hikes through 2023.
(Correction: In an earlier version of the story, Goldman’s Kostin title was incorrectly stated.)