US stocks dip as market rally pauses near record highs

NYSE Trader Blur
Traders on the floor react before the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020 in New York.

  • US stocks edged lower from all-time highs on Friday as investors mulled how much further the market could climb.
  • Optimism around vaccinations and new stimulus has run up against concerns of unsustainable valuations.
  • Bitcoin traded around $47,500 after notching a record high late Thursday. Adoption from BNY Mellon, Mastercard and Tesla sent prices soaring through the week.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US equities fell slightly on Friday as bullish investors stopped to take stock of the market’s record-setting rally.

The S&P 500 climbed to an all-time high on Thursday as stimulus hopes and declining jobless claims bolstered bullish sentiments. Momentum has since stalled as investors weigh whether stocks have room to move higher. While Democrats continue to push for a $1.9 trillion relief package, stretched valuations and lasting pain in the labor market stand to curb further gains.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:

Read more: A crypto CEO breaks down why Tesla adding bitcoin to its balance sheet will create a ‘domino effect’ that lifts the cryptocurrency to $100,000 by the end of 2021 – and says Dogecoin is destined for a GameStop-style plunge

Separately, the emergence of new COVID-19 strains threatens optimism around an improving pace of vaccination. The US administered 1.62 million doses per day on average last week, bringing the nationwide total to 48 million vaccinations. President Joe Biden announced Thursday the drive will accelerate further still, with the US completing orders for 100 million additional doses from Pfizer and Moderna.

Yet public health experts have warned the shots are less effective against new, rapidly spreading strains of COVID-19. Investors are sure to monitor whether the UK and South African virus variants will cut into efforts to reach herd immunity.

Coronavirus case counts suggest the strains aren’t yet throwing the US into another wave of infections. The country reported 103,024 new cases on Thursday, down significantly from levels seen just one month ago. Hospitalizations declined further to 74,225, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Earnings season continued. Disney gained after reporting earnings and revenue above Wall Street’s expectations. Subscribers for its Disney Plus streaming service neared 95 million even as a free-trial deal with Verizon customers ended, the company said.

Read more: Wall Street veteran Peter Kraus breaks down why investors should expect about a 10% to 15% market correction ahead – and shares his thoughts on the GameStop drama, SPAC mania, and bitcoin craze.

Bumble gained again after soaring 64% in its Thursday trading debut. The dating app raised $2.2 billion on Wednesday offering 50 million shares for $43 each. The post-IPO pop suggests demand for new offerings will remain strong in 2021.

Bitcoin stabilized around $47,500 after falling from a record-high of 48,925.53 Thursday night. Backing from industry giants including Tesla and BNY Mellon has reinvigorated the cryptocurrency and lifted prices throughout the week.

Spot gold edged as much as 0.81% lower, to $1,810.67 per ounce. The US dollar strengthened against a basket of Group-of-20 currency peers and Treasury yields climbed.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.4%, to $57.41 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 1.3%, to $60.34 per barrel, at intraday lows before paring most losses.

Read more: JP Morgan says 2021 is a ‘stockpickers’ paradise with big money-making opportunities’ – Here’s the firm’s 22 ‘highest conviction’ small-cap investment ideas

Read the original article on Business Insider