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S&P 500 Struggles for Direction, Hovers Near Record on Tech Strength


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By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 struggled for direction Wednesday, as tech gave up some gains despite a decline in rates ahead of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting minutes due later today.

The rose 0.04%, the fell 0.1%, or 23 points, and the was down 0.1%.

Tech stocks gave up some of their gains even as investors weighed falling U.S. bond yields against worries that stocks have run up too fast and are due a correction.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:), Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Apple (NASDAQ:) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:) traded in the green.

Amazon late-Tuesday pledged its support for President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan and said it was ready to back the proposed corporate tax hike to fund the package. Biden is expected to release further details on the tax hike part of the plan.

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:) was flat despite receiving an upgraded by Wolfe Research to outperform from peer perform as its recent declines has made its valuation attractive.

U.S. bond yields could be set for busy afternoon as investors await monetary policy clues from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting minutes due later. On Thursday, meanwhile, Fed chairman Jerome Powell will be in focus as he participates in the IMF panel discussion on the global economy.

Investors have been upping their bets on the Fed to signal by year-end that it would begin tapering its bond purchasing, which would likely push yields higher. The odds of a rate hike in 2022 continue to gather pace, despite the Fed projecting no hike through 2023, as investors continue to see a strong recovery. 

JPMorgan (NYSE:) chief executive Jamie Dimon said the economic boom could “easily run into 2023.”

“I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom,” Dimon said in an annual letter to shareholders. “This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023.”

Energy stocks were supported by a rebound in oil prices following data showing weekly inventories fell more than expected last week.

On the vaccine front, AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:) suffered a setback somewhat after the UK health regulator MHRA said it would offer an alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine due to very rare cases of blood clotting. 

Cruise lines were in focus, meanwhile, after Carnival (NYSE:) reported a wider-than-expected fiscal first quarter loss, but signaled demand was healthy as booking volumes rose more than 90% sequentially. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NYSE:) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:) were up more than 1%.

In other news, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:) gave up its intraday gains, falling more than 2%, despite the plant-based food company announcing the opening its first manufacturing plant in China.

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