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. Canada’s benchmark stock index also ended higher, but remains about 1 per cent below its all-time high from earlier this month.
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.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 68.23 points, or 0.36%, at 19,170.56. Tech stocks had a strong session in Canada as well, gaining 1.43%, and the energy sector rose nearly half a percentage point.
Copper stocks were well represented on the list of biggest gainers on the TSX Monday, thanks to another rise in the price of the red metal. Taseko Mines gained 13.02%, Capstone Mining 7.75%, First Quantum Minerals 7.62%, and Western Copper and Gold 7.10%.
Copper prices soared to 10-year highs as supply concerns in Chile, sliding inventories, a weaker U.S. dollar and expected strong demand from top consumer China triggered fresh buying.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose about 2% and hit $9,765 a tonne, the highest since August 2011.
Mining unions in Chile have threatened to protest if the government does not drop a bid to block Chileans from drawing down more of their pensions savings early. Port workers, meanwhile, have called for a general strike. Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world.
“The Chile news helped, but there was already a lot of momentum based on a few things, including stocks and the dollar,” one metals trader said. “Chinese demand moving into the seasonally strong period is another factor.”
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%.
Canadian National Railway also reported results after Monday’s close, with quarterly profits falling 3.6%, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit shipment volumes of coal, petroleum and chemicals. Still, Canadian National said it now expects “high single-digit” volume growth in 2021, up from its prior outlook of “mid-single-digit” growth. Canadian National’s operating ratio, a closely watched measure of operating expenses as a percentage of revenue, improved to 62.5% from 65.7%. A lower operating ratio signals improved profitability.
In post market trading in the U.S., CN Rail shares were down a marginal 0.05%.
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.
Read more: Stocks that saw action on Monday - and why
Reuters, Globe staff
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