Men wearing protective masks stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm as a car passes by in Tokyo Friday, April 9, 2021. Shares fell Friday in most Asian markets after China reported a stronger than expected rise in prices that could prompt authorities to act to cool inflation. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were slightly higher in early trading Friday, as a rise in bond yields helped lift the shares of energy and bank companies in the early going. Technology stocks, which have moved in the opposite direction as bond yields, were trading lower.
The S&P 500 index was up 0.2% as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2% as well, while the Nasdaq Composite index was down 0.2%.
Bank stocks were among the better performers in early trading, as a rise in bond yields translates into higher interest banks can charge to customers to borrow. Wells Fargo was up 1%, Bank of America was up 0.7% and JPMorgan Chase was up 0.6%.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 index gained 0.4% to 4,097.17, another record high following records set on Monday and Wednesday. Stocks have benefited this week as bond yields, which had been steadily ticking higher, retreated from highs hit earlier in the month.
But on Friday, bond yields resumed their rise. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, rose to 1.66% from 1.63% late Thursday. It had been as high as 1.75% on Monday.
Investors are showing cautious optimism about the economic recovery, especially in the U.S., where vaccine distribution has been ramping up and President Joe Biden has advanced the deadline for states to make doses available to all adults to April 19.
But it's clear the recovery has a long way to go. The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose again last week, as many businesses remain closed or partially shut down due to the pandemic.
In remarks to the International Monetary Fund Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said a number of factors are putting the nation “on track to allow a full reopening of the economy fairly soon.”
Investors will be turning their attentions toward company earnings starting next week, when earnings season gets underway. The major banks are among the first to report their results, including JPMorgan, Wells and Bank of America.
Featured Article: Conference Calls and Individual Investors7 Infrastructure Stocks That May Help Rebuild America
Despite their disagreements (real or imagined) on almost everything, Democrats and Republicans alike love infrastructure projects. These are easy wins for Congressional leaders seeking re-election. And they typically spur job creation, which contributes to economic growth.
With that in mind, it’s ironic that, in the last four years, the United States Congress did not pass an infrastructure bill.
Nevertheless, even with (and maybe because of) the gridlock that looks to be in the country’s future, the infrastructure looks to be on the front burner again. The economic recovery is still far from complete. Unfortunately, neither are America’s roads, energy grid, telecommunications systems, and the like. That means that it would seem like a good policy for a Biden administration to look at an infrastructure bill.
Biden will be under pressure to endorse the $1.5 trillion infrastructure package that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed in July. But the package may need to be tweaked a bit since it currently includes climate change initiatives that have kept the bill from advancing through the Senate.
However, it appears that the economy will need some significant juice after whatever this winter brings in terms of the virus. And if calmer heads prevail (we can always hope), there may be a major infrastructure bill to stimulate job creation. And we’ve identified seven stocks that should bear watching if this comes to pass.
View the "7 Infrastructure Stocks That May Help Rebuild America"
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