By Mark DeCambre and Joy Wiltermuth
Nasdaq Composite ends lower for 4th straight session
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 booked their first positive close in six sessions Monday, with the blue-chip index scoring its best daily gain in about five weeks, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The Nasdaq Composite ended 1% lower, extending its losing streak to a fourth session in a row.
What happened in stocks
Last week, the Dow industrials dropped 2.2%, the S&P 500 lost 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite retreated by 1.6%. For both the Dow and the S&P, it was the worst week since the period ending June 18; both indexes also fell for five straight sessions.
See:When the Fed finally steps back, can the U.S. stock and bond markets stand on their own legs?
What drove markets
The Dow and S&P 500 rose Monday, while the Nasdaq finished lower, with selling in healthcare, growth and value stocks weighing on equities.
"We are basically in a drifting market," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, pointing to modest gains Monday for the Dow and small-cap stocks, but pressure on the Nasdaq Composite.
"What we are seeing here is basically a market that's very much gripped by seasonal factors," Cardillo said, in a phone interview. "We have had four or five days of declines. But the decline has been without any major volumes. That's a good sign, which means the market isn't likely to encounter any serious decline during the month of September."
There weren't any major developments on the economic or corporate front, ahead of more fireworks on Tuesday, when consumer price data will be released and Apple Inc. (AAPL) will unveil its new suite of upgraded products.
Supply-chain worries, as well as the delta variant of coronavirus, were two factors behind last week's stock-market retreat.
"Throughout the pandemic, vaccination has been key to both lifting social restrictions and local market performance," wrote Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, in a note.
"In the United States, where the S&P 500 is up more than 20% YTD, an early and aggressive vaccination rollout has allowed for the full reopening of its economy," the strategist wrote.
Investors also have remained on edge as valuations have been perceived as lofty and due for a pullback.
Read:Risk of 'hard' stock-market valuation correction is growing, says Deutsche Bank--here's why
An investor survey conducted by Deutsche Bank found more than two-thirds of respondents expecting at least a 5% decline in stocks by the end of the year. The same survey found the biggest risks to the market are new variants that bypass vaccines, and higher than expected inflation or bond yields.
"Everybody is bracing for a correction, and usually when everyone thinks the same way, the opposite usually happens," Cardillo said. "That's not to say it can't happen in the next three or four months. But will it happen in the intermediate term? I don't think so."
In economic data, the U.S. federal budget deficit narrowed to $2.71 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, the Treasury Department said Monday. This is down $297 million or 10% from the $3 trillion deficit over the same period last year.
On the public health front, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said President Joe Biden will announce new steps to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the U.N. General Assembly session that is scheduled to start on Tuesday, Reuters reported
That report comes as the daily average of new cases in the U.S. over the past seven days eased to 145.724 as of Sunday, down from a recent peak of 166,105 on Sept. 1 and 7% less than what it was two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker.
The "main message of delta" isn't that the economy has learned to adapt, but that we "still don't know what's coming," Chief Economist Chris Low and his team at FHN Financial, wrote in a weekly note.
All it takes is to "talk to parents with school-age children in one of the cities where pediatric COVID cases are soaring," to get a sense that confidence has been shaken and "fear is now back."
Which companies were in focus
Also see: Litecoin spikes 20% after hoax reports that Walmart would accept the cryptocurrency
How did other assets fare?
Steve Goldstein contributed reporting
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 13, 2021 16:32 ET (20:32 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.