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22 Mar 2021 | 21:08

US close: Stocks higher as yields slip from recent highs

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks closed higher on Monday after the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped from its recent 14-month high, with technology stocks leading gainers.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.32% at 32,731.20, while the S&P 500 was 0.70% firmer at 3,940.59 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.23% stronger at 13,375.54.

The Dow closed 103.23 points higher on Monday, cutting into losses recorded on Friday when all three major indices ended the week in the red.

In focus on Monday, the 10-year Treasury yield fell about three basis points to 1.69%, while off its recent highs, the still-elevated yield continued to pressure tech and growth stocks that had previously helped Wall Street bounce back from its Covid-19-induced sell-off early in 2020.

Optimism around vaccine rollouts across the US was also on investors' minds, with the rate at which Americans were getting inoculated continuing to climb in recent weeks. However, news that several states had actually seen an increase in new Covid-19 cases did put a slight dampener on sentiment.

US trial data showed that AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford's Covid-19 vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalisation.

On the macro front, the US economy contracted for the first time since last April in February, according to the Chicago Fed's national activity index, which fell to -1.09 last month from a revised 0.75 growth in January.

Elsewhere, closed sales of existing US homes fell at a larger-than-expected clip of 6.6% month-on-month in February as the supply of homes for sale fell 29.5% year-on-year, the largest annual decline ever, according to the National Association of Realtors. The drop put sales at a seasonally adjusted, annualised rate of 6.22m units, down on the prior month but still 9.1% higher year-on-year.

A raft of central bank heads spoke throughout the course of the day, with Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell saying the central bank was in no rush to issue a central bank digital currency, noting that as the US dollar was the world's reserve currency, a CBDC would have "potentially large implications here and around the world".
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