The First Slice for Tuesday, June 29, 2021

U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher, leaving the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite with fresh intraday and all-time closing records, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost ground as shares of Boeing Co. and Chevron Corp. slumped.

  • The Dow fell -150.57 or -0.44%
  • The S&P 500 added +9.91 or +0.23%
  • The Nasdaq climbed +140.12or +0.98%

The focus, in the last trading days of June, remained on quarter-end positioning, discussions surrounding infrastructure and the outlook for the economy’s reopening phase as market participants watch COVID variants.

In Washington, hopes were high for progress on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that could deliver a fresh jolt to business activity in the U.S., while improving roads, bridges and tunnels, after President Joe Biden over the weekend walked back comments that tied the $1 billion infrastructure bill to an antipoverty package.

But worries lingered about the persistence of growing pricing pressures in the economy’s recovery phase from COVID, with investors expected to shift their attention to data on the labor market. The June jobs report will be released on Friday.

The Federal Reserve has insisted that inflation likely will be a temporary phenomenon, but policy makers also have said improvements in the jobs market will form a key part of the decision making process around when to begin curtailing its program of monthly asset purchases and eventually raising its benchmark interest rate, which currently stand at a range between 0% and 0.25%.

A few Fed officials already said they are expecting to raise rates as soon as late 2022, while scaling back asset purchases, or quantitative easing, could commence by the beginning of next year.

On the health front, a study found that COVID vaccines developed by Pfizer with German partner BioNTech and Moderna using mRNA may offer protection against the illness for years. About 46.1% of the U.S. population now has been fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

However, Hong Kong said Monday it will ban U.K. passenger flights this week to curb the virus. And in Australia, officials are battling to contain several COVID-19 clusters around the country, in what some experts have described as the nation’s most dangerous stage of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks to combat the delta variant of the COVID-19 strain.

On the housing front, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday rolled out new rules on foreclosures, starting in late August, that will give borrowers more time to become current on past-due mortgages and more options, including loan modifications and other remedies, to avoid foreclosures. “An unchecked wave of foreclosures would drain billions of dollars in wealth from the Black and Hispanic communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” the consumer watchdog said.

Investors heard more from Fed officials. Eric Rosengren, the president of the Boston Fed, expressed concern over the housing market in an interview with the Financial Times, as data show house prices soaring.

  • Facebook Inc. shares closed up 4.2%, soaring to a market cap above $1 trillion for the first time ever after a federal court dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against the company, which would have split up the social-networking giant.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond shares rose 6% after the company detailed its enhanced paid parental leave plan, up to eight weeks leave to parents after the birth, adoption, or fostering of a new child.
  • Carnival Corp. shares were 7% lower after the cruise line said Monday morning that it may sell up to $500 million in stock from time to time as part of an at-the-money equity offering program.
  • Intellia Therapeutics Inc.’s stock popped 50% Monday as excitement builds over its pipeline of treatments that apply the gene-editing technology known as Crispr-Cas9
  • Chinese ride-sharing company DiDi Global Inc. DIDI, set terms for its much anticipated initial public offering on Monday, with plans to offer 288 million American Depositary Shares priced at $13 to $14 each.
  • Cybersecurity company SentinelOne S set terms for its initial public offering on Monday with plans to offer 32 million shares, priced at $31 to $32 each. 
  • Shares of U.K. luxury goods group Burberry slumped 8.2% after Marco Gobbetti said he would be leaving the company at the end of the year to take the same role at leather goods maker Salvatore Ferragamo in his native Italy. Burberry said it has begun a search for his successor.
  • Virgin Galactic Holdings gave back some of Friday’s sharp advance, which came after the Federal Aviation Administration granted approval to the company to fly customers into space. Shares fell 1.9% Monday.
  • Oil futures retreated, with the U.S. crude benchmark CL00 settling 1.5% lower at $72.91 a barrel.

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