Written by DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA AP Business Writers
Stocks ended a wobbly day with mixed results, ending a six-day winning streak for the S&P 500 even as the Nasdaq eked out another record high. A late slump pulled the S&P 500 down 0.1%, having set an all-time high of its own a day earlier. Small-company stocks also continued to rise. Investors are keeping their eyes on Washington, where Democrats plan to move ahead without Republican help on a major stimulus bill for the economy.
Hanesbrands soared after delivering an earnings report that was much stronger than Wall Street analysts were expecting. Treasury yields rose.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Stocks wobbled between small gains and losses in afternoon trading on Tuesday, after the major stock market indexes hit record highs the day before. Investors continue to keep their eyes on Washington, where it appears Democrats plan to move ahead without Republican help on a major stimulus bill for the economy.
The S&P 500 index was flat as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern. The benchmark index is on a six-day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 points, or 0.1%, to 31,409 and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks rose 0.5%. The four indexes set all-time highs on Monday.
The S&P 500 was nearly evenly split between gainers and losers, with communications companies rising the most. A mix of companies that deal with consumer services and products were the biggest drag on the broader market.
Several companies were making big moves after reporting their latest quarterly results. Hanesbrands soared 24.1% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting earnings that came in well ahead of what analysts were expecting.
Mobile games developer Glu Mobile vaulted 34.9% after it agreed to be acquired by Electronic Arts in a deal valued at $2.1 billion. Shares in Electronic Arts, maker of “Medal of Honor” and other video games, rose 2.6%.
Stocks have been moving steadily higher for several days as Wall Street becomes more optimistic that the worst parts of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic might be in the rearview mirror. Vaccine rollouts continue both in the U.S. and globally, with the U.S. administrating hundreds of thousands of doses per day at this point.
“The vaccinations have outpaced the virus and that becomes part of what’s playing into the optimism in the market,” said Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “It makes for an environment where it’s getting back to some sense of normality.”
Washington is preparing to go big for its next round of economic stimulus to support struggling Americans and businesses. Democrats have rallied around President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which will include one-time payments to Americans plus a likely increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Expectations for another financial boost for the economy has helped keep investors in a buying mood.
The market’s strong start to February and the strength in shares of companies that rely on consumer spending “is an indicator of the optimism creeping higher and the assumption that consumers in the U.S. will get a larger check perhaps than we thought three or four weeks ago,” Buchanan said.
Shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment continue to be volatile, as online investors remain in a tug-of-war with Wall Street institutional investors over the struggling companies’ values. GameStop shares were down 17.5% and AMC was down 10.9%.
Traders in cryptocurrencies continued to push up the price of bitcoin. It was up 8.8% to $46,942, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange climbed 6.3% to $47,555. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of the digital currency.
Treasury yields were mostly higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was at 1.16%, up from 1.14% late Monday.