S&P 500, Nasdaq close at record highs ahead of tech earnings wave

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs on Monday, fueled by Tesla Inc and other heavyweight growth stocks ahead of a deluge of earnings reports this week.

The Nasdaq’s record high close confirmed the end of an 11% correction in the index that began after its previous record high close on Feb. 12, with the index closing at a low on March 8.

In extended trade, Tesla dipped about 0.4% after the electric car maker beat Wall Street expectations for first-quarter revenue. During Monday’s trading session, Tesla had gained 1.2%.

Companies that constitute about 40% of the S&P 500’s market capitalization report from Tuesday through Thursday, including Microsoft Corp, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc and Facebook Inc. Shares of those companies also rose.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors climbed, with the energy index leading with a 0.6% gain, while utilities and consumer staples declined.

Of 124 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 85.5% have topped analysts’ earnings estimates, with Refinitiv IBES data now predicting a 34.3% jump in profit growth.

“We’re way above the average for firms reporting earnings above estimates. More important than the fact that they are beating on estimates is that they are raising their expectations and outlooks going forward, and that’s giving the markets a nice boost,” said Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ.

Investors will monitor a two-day Federal Reserve meeting beginning Tuesday, with the U.S. central bank expected to shine some light on whether the employment landscape has affected its plan to leave interest rates near zero for an extended time and to continue buying $120 billion in bonds each month.

Also on investors’ radar is a reading of first-quarter gross domestic product later this week to gauge the pace of economic recovery in the United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18% to end at 33,981.57 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.18% to 4,187.62. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.87% to 14,138.78.

Market participants are also watching out for any fresh developments on U.S. President Joe Biden’s tax plan after reports last week said he would seek to nearly double the capital gains tax to 39.6% for wealthy individuals.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms, including Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group, surged more than 5% as bitcoin snapped five straight days of losses.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.80-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.14-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 105 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and 21 new lows.

In a moderately busy session, volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.4 billion shares, compared with the 10 billion full-session average over the last 20 trading days.

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