S&P 500 in Holding Pattern as Tech Stumbles to Offset Gains in Cyclicals

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Investing.com – The S&P 500 remained in a holding pattern Tuesday, as weakness in technology stocks offset a rise in cyclicals in the wake of economic data showing U.S. consumer confidence remains robust. 

The S&P 500 was flat, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% or 14 points, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.27%.

Cyclicals stocks – those that move in tandem with economic cycle – were boosted by signs the consumer segment, which contributes about two-thirds of economic growth, remains optimistic over the recovery even as rising global infections cloud the economic outlook.

“At the headline level, confidence has now recovered most of the Covid hit, and it now stands slightly above the level reached after the election of President Trump in 2016,” Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note.

Industrials were among the best sector gainers on the day, with strong gains in UPS offsetting a drop in General Electric .  

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) jumped more than 11% after reporting first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations thanks to strong demand from small businesses.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) fell about 2% after posting mixed quarterly results as revenue fell short of estimates, weighed down by pandemic-led weakness in its aviation business.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), meanwhile, slumped nearly 4% despite the electric automaker delivering better-than-expected results. Still some on Wall Street remain bullish on the stock, with growth in China touted as key to the company’s future.

“The main line in the sand now for the bulls and bears is not the near-term chip shortage in our opinion (which is temporary), but rather Tesla’s ability to further penetrate China,” Wedbush said in a note.

Tech gave up gains from a day earlier as investors awaited key quarterly results from the tech heavyweights including Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), both due after markets close.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will report quarterly results on Wednesday, with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) reporting on Thursday.

With stocks continuing to trade near-all time highs, investor focus will also turn to monetary policy as the Federal Reserve gets its two-day meeting underway.

The meeting is expected to culminate in a unchanged Fed decision on rates and monthly bond purchases, but investors will be keen to parse comments from Fed chairman Jerome Powell amid a favorable economic backdrop.

In other news, GameStop (NYSE:GME) climbed 6% after the company raised $551 million via an equity offering.

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