Stocks rise slightly to start the week, S&P 500 makes another attempt at new record

Stocks rose slightly on Monday as Wall Street tried to build on last week’s gain and the S&P 500 attempted to break its Feb. 19 record high. 

The S&P 500 traded 0.3% higher and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 31 points, or 0.1%.The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, rising 0.6%.

Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple Alphabet and Microsoft all rose at least 0.5% to least the Nasdaq higher. The S&P 500 materials sector rose 1% as miners Newmont and Freeport-McMoRan each gained more than 3%. Those gains came after Barrick Gold shot up nearly 10% following Berkshire Hathaway disclosing a stake in the company

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were each coming off three-week winning streaks. The Dow also posted a weekly gain. 

Despite those gains, the S&P 500 failed to notch a fresh record high after flirting with the milestone for most of last week. Through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 was just 0.6% below 3,393.52, the intraday record set in February.

“The S&P 500 is overbought into key resistance and up against seasonal headwinds,” Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, said in a note to clients. But should the market “consolidate from here, we’ll be monitoring for an accumulation of cyclical equities to confirm what we expect to be a breakout to a new high.”

Wall Street also grappled with lingering concerns over stalled coronavirus stimulus negotiations and simmering U.S.-China tensions.

Both Democrats and Republicans have indicated they are at a stalemate over a new stimulus package. Democrats have proposed to send more than $900 billion to states and municipalities in one bill. A counteroffer from the GOP did not include any additional aid for states and local governments.

On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted: “I am ready to send more money to States and Local governments to save jobs for Police, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Teachers. DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Sunday she would call the House back into session to address funding for the U.S. Postal Service, a key issue in the stimulus negotiations. 

On the U.S.-China front, Trump issued an executive order on Friday forcing ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business in 90 days. Trump cited “credible evidence” that ByteDance “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

Trump’s order came as the relationship between both countries continues to deteriorate. The U.S. has criticized China over its initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

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