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Stocks Open Higher, Bitcoin Edges Up After Multi-Month Lows

05/24/2021 | 07:48am EDT

By Anna Hirtenstein

U.S. stocks rose and bond yields crept lower as investors grew more comfortable with the inflation outlook and the pace of the economic recovery.

The S&P 500 added 0.6%, a positive start to the week after the broad-market index fell moderately for two weeks in a row. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.7% as technology stocks scored gains after the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5%.

Investors are keeping a close eye on inflation indicators to determine whether a rise in prices will be temporary or longer-term. Companies that are able to pass along higher costs to consumers such as in energy and materials have been an increasingly popular trade, while technology companies' shares and bonds have lagged.

"Inflation concerns have lessened, there's more of a wider recognition that inflation will be transitory," said Fahad Kamal, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros. "This is reflecting the fact that we hit the fastest part of the recovery. Growth, while continuing, is going to be at a decelerating pace."

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note declined to 1.615% Monday from 1.629% Friday. Yields fall when prices rise.

Cryptocurrencies continued a dramatic stretch of trading. Bitcoin rose moderately after touching multi-month lows Sunday and traded around $37,750, a 7% rise from Friday at 5 p.m. ET. The cryptocurrency has lost over 40% of its value since its mid-April peak.

"Decentralized finance is facing its first real challenge since inception. We don't think that this is the end, the bubble has not really popped yet," said Monica Defend, global head of research at Amundi. "Central banks are ready to play in the digital currency field, I expect with the central banks in play, there will be more regulation to come and more transparency."

Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard was scheduled to speak about digital currencies at a virtual event organized by CoinDesk at 9 a.m.

Earnings season is winding down. This week, technology companies including Nvidia on Wednesday and Salesforce.com and Dell Technologies on Thursday, are set to report.

In premarket trading, Moderna rose 1.7% after striking a deal with Samsung's biotech division to manufacture its Covid-19 vaccines in South Korea. Space-travel company Virgin Galactic jumped 19% after it said it completed its first human space flight on Saturday from New Mexico.

In commodities, global benchmark Brent crude rose 1.2% to $67.15 a barrel. Analysts at Goldman Sachs put out a note on Sunday with a forecast that it will reach $80 by summer.

"It's still kind of punching in the green light for inflation flows into commodities," said Gregory Shearer, a commodities analyst at JPMorgan. But the Federal Reserve minutes last week, "where they began to talk about tapering, this makes people somewhat less concerned about [inflation] running away out of hand."

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 was relatively flat, wavering between small gains and losses. Monday is a public holiday in several European countries, including Germany and Denmark.

Among European equities, IT services company Solutions 30 plunged over 70% after auditor EY declined to sign off on its accounts. The plunge erased around 800 million euros, equivalent to roughly $974 million, in market capitalization, leaving it worth around 300 million euros.

In Asia, major benchmarks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.3% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2%.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-24-21 0948ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BITCOIN - EURO 0.86% 36845.83 Real-time Quote.54.35%
BITCOIN - UNITED STATES DOLLAR 0.73% 43172.42 Real-time Quote.47.86%
DELL TECHNOLOGIES INC. 1.16% 103.88 Delayed Quote.41.74%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.10% 34798 Delayed Quote.13.59%
HANG SENG -1.35% 24155.4 Real-time Quote.-11.29%
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 1.15% 163.04 Delayed Quote.26.84%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.94% 78.01 Delayed Quote.49.38%
MODERNA, INC. -5.38% 430.14 Delayed Quote.311.74%
NASDAQ COMP. -0.03% 15047.699032 Real-time Quote.16.79%
NVIDIA CORPORATION -1.78% 220.81 Delayed Quote.69.14%
S&P 500 0.15% 4455.48 Delayed Quote.18.45%
S&P GSCI BRENT CRUDE INDEX 0.88% 657.2773 Delayed Quote.47.80%
S&P/CITIC 300 INDEX 0.02% 4379.5 Delayed Quote.-4.66%
S&P/CITIC 50 INDEX -0.01% 4025.61 Delayed Quote.-13.69%
SOLUTIONS 30 SE 3.75% 9 Real-time Quote.-14.45%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.90% 463.29 Delayed Quote.16.10%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR -0.90% 1040.15 Delayed Quote.18.25%
VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS, INC. -3.13% 25.04 Delayed Quote.5.52%
WTI 0.93% 73.961 Delayed Quote.52.07%
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