S&P 500 Eases From Record, but Bullish Bets on Cyclicals Fuel Gains

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P 500 eased slightly from record highs Monday, but sentiment on stocks remained positive led by cyclical sectors amid optimism over the economy after House Democrats passed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.15%, or 73 points, the Nasdaq climbed 0.25%. All three major averages as well as the Russell 2000 Futures hit record intraday highs.

Energy gained more than 1% buoyed by rising oil prices after Saudi Arabia hiked its selling prices for oil exports to Asia by more than expected at a time when supplies are expected to remain tight.

“The fact that Saudi Arabia was able to raise its prices so sharply points to robust demand in Asia,” Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) said in a note.

Materials, meanwhile, benefited from rising commodity prices and hopes for a surge infrastructure activity after lawmakers passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill over the weekend.

CF Industries (NYSE:CF), Freeport-McMoran Copper&Gold (NYSE:FCX) and Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) were among biggest gainers in the sector.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which President Biden is expected to sign into law soon, aims to improve the nation’s critical infrastructure including transportation, broadband access and utilities.

The more ambitious $1.75 trillion “human infrastructure” package, or Build Back Better Act, is expected to be passed in the House by Thanksgiving.

But the legislative measure would still have to clear the Senate, where Democrats hold a 50-50 majority, and are struggling to unite behind the measures to include in the bill and how best to fund it.

Tech, meanwhile, was led higher by rally in semiconductors as Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices are expected to benefit from spending plans by Meta, formerly known as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), to build out its metaverse.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) climbed 4% after BMO upgraded its rating on the stock to $375 a share from $250, on expectations that Facebook’s investment splurge on building on its metaverse will boost Nvidia’s chip business.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) advanced 11% after winning a contract from Meta, formerly known as Facebook, to supply the social media giant with chips in its data centers.

Consumer discretionary stocks, meanwhile, were dragged into the red by a slump in Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) after chief executive Elon Musk asked his twitter followers whether he should sell his 10% stake in the electric vehicle maker. About 58% of respondents favored a sale.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F), however, partly offset some of the losses, rising nearly 5% after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) lifted its price target on the automaker to $20 from $18, while maintaining its neutral rating on the stock.

The reopening trade, meanwhile, continued to gather steam after the U.S. ended its international travel ban Monday, allowing fully-vaccinated tourists to visit the country.

United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) rose less than 1%, while Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) was up more than 1%.

In other news, Cryptocurrency-related stocks including Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT), Marathon Digital, Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) Global, were underpinned by a surge in bitcoin and Ethereum, with the latter hitting fresh record highs.

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