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US STOCKS-S&P 500 and Dow end session at record highs

· 03/15/2021 16:21
US STOCKS-S&P 500 and Dow end session at record highs

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Eli Lily drops after 'mixed' data from mid-stage trial

Carriers signal recovery in leisure bookings

Growth stocks beat value

Updates with close of trading

By Noel Randewich

- The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record highs on Monday, as investors eyed an economic recovery from the coronavirus and awaited cues from the Federal Reserve this week amid caution over rising borrowing costs.

In a concrete sign that the worst of the damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be over for the airline industry, Delta Air Lines DAL.N, Southwest Airlines LUV.N and JetBlue Airways JBLU.N said leisure bookings were rising. nL1N2LD0WF

Gains in the major indexes accelerated near the end of the trading session.

The S&P 1500 airlines index .SPCOMAIR jumped over 4% to a one-year high, while other travel-related stocks, including Carnival Corp CCL.N, Wynn Resorts WYNN.O and MGM Resorts MGM.N jumped between 2% and 5%.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sector indexes rose, led by utilities .SPLRCU and real estate .SPLRCR, each up more than 1%.

It was the Dow's sixth straight record high close in a recent surge fueled by mass vaccinations and congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion aid bill. Expectations of a recovery accelerated demand for stocks expected to outperform as the economy reopens, such as banks, energy, materials companies.

On Monday, the Russell growth index .RLG outperformed the Russell value index .RLV in a modest reversal of investors' recent trend away from technology and other high-growth stocks.

"With the vaccine positive news and the stimulus, we think there will continue to be a fair amount of rotation out of the stay-at-home stocks," said Greg Bassuk, CEO of AXS Investments. "We are bullish on financial services and energy coming out of the pandemic."

The S&P 500 has gained almost 6% in 2021, while the Dow has added nearly 8%.

At the end of Fed's two-day meeting on Wednesday, policymakers are expected to forecast that the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 at its fastest rate in decades while reiterating their dovish stance for the foreseeable future. nL1N2L82OT

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR ticked lower to 1.60%, below its 13-month peak of 1.64% on Friday. Wall Street has been roiled in recent weeks by a spike in longer-dated U.S. bond yields due to fears of an increase in inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.53% to end at 32,953.46 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.65% to 3,968.94.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC climbed 1.05% to 13,459.71. It remains down almost 5% from its Feb. 12 record high close.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.5 billion shares, compared with the 14.5 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Tesla TSLA.O rose about 2% after the company dubbed Chief Executive Elon Musk "Technoking of Tesla" in a formal regulatory filing. nL4N2LD2W1

Eli Lilly and Co shares LLY.N slumped 9.1% after a mid-stage trial testing its experimental Alzheimer's drug led to "mixed" results, reducing the chances for the drug's accelerated approval, according to analysts. nL1N2LA30T

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.78-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 90 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 281 new highs and 15 new lows.


(Reporting by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; additional reporting by Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

((noel.randewich@tr.com; (415) 677 2542, Twitter: @randewich))