S&P 500 closes in on 4,000 as Biden spending plan on deck

(Reuters) – Technology shares led the S&P 500 to a record high on Wednesday, and the three major Wall Street indexes were set to post their fourth straight quarterly gains, as investors awaited details of President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure plan.

FILE PHOTO: American flags hang from the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The S&P 500 benchmark index was less than 15 points from hitting 4,000 for the first time as bets on a strong economic rebound helped the market ride out a quarter that saw a retail trading frenzy, inflation worries, a spike in Treasury yields and a U.S. hedge fund going bust.

“The trend we’re seeing today is investors rotating back into growth-oriented names that have gotten a little bit beaten up over the past few weeks or so due to underlying rotation toward the economic reopening stocks,” said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer at RDM Financial Group at Hightower.

Some cyclical sectors could also be taking a breather from their rise because of recent strength in the dollar, he said.

“That’s probably had some impact on commodity prices, industrial stocks and possibly financials as well.”

For the quarter, the Nasdaq’s gain lagged increases in the other two major indexes as investors swapped growth-oriented stocks with underpriced shares deemed to benefit most from a full economic reopening.

Biden’s $3 trillion-$4 trillion infrastructure package will target traditional projects like roads and bridges alongside investments in the electric vehicle market.

The size and scale of the proposal, as well as the question of how it would be paid for is likely to set the stage for the next partisan clash in Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.24 points, or 0.08%, to 33,094.2, the S&P 500 gained 31.09 points, or 0.79%, to 3,989.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 253.09 points, or 1.94%, to 13,298.49.

For a graphic on S&P 500, sectors gains for quarter and month:

Last week, the Dow hit a record closing high, thanks to the recent $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus and vaccine rollouts.

The Nasdaq was up more than 1% on the day, but the index is about 6% off its all-time peak as high-flying tech names have been hit by a surge in U.S. 10-year bond yields.

Apple Inc rose 2.1% after brokerage UBS upgraded the stock to “buy” on stable long-term demand for iPhones with better authorized service providers.

Meanwhile, U.S. private employers boosted hiring in March as more Americans got vaccinated against COVID-19. The payroll report was in line with the recent signs of improvement in the labor market and comes ahead of a more comprehensive monthly jobs report on Friday.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc advanced after raising its 2021 profit forecast on higher sales at its U.S. retail pharmacy stores.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.99-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.17-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 58 new highs and 17 new lows.

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