Wall Street edges higher on U.S. infrastructure bill; Tesla drags

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street stocks edged higher on Monday, as investors cheered the passage of a U.S. infrastructure spending bill, but gains were limited by falling Tesla shares.

All three major U.S. stock indexes pared early gains but the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq remained on course to extend their run of all-time record closing levels to eight straight sessions.

But Tesla Inc fell 3.1%, the heaviest weight on the S&P 500. CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter held a Twitter poll on whether he should sell about 10% of his holdings of stock in the electric automaker company he founded. The poll garnered more than 3.5 million votes, with 57.9% voting “Yes”.

“The market is looking at a number of different things – the positive earnings environment, the COVID Delta variant has lessened, we’re getting this infrastructure spending bill and we’ve gotten through questions about what the Federal Reserve is going to do, with tapering,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. “That’s what helped propel the market to this point and as we move to December the question becomes where to invest in 2022.”

Economically sensitive cyclicals, smallcaps and chips were leading the charge higher, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index scaling a record high.

Industrials and materials got a boost after the U.S. Congress passed President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill on Saturday.

Caterpillar Inc, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, Freeport McMoRan and U.S. Steel Corp were among companies riding the wave, advancing between 2% and 6%.

Lawmakers now turn to Biden’s social spending bill, with the House of Representatives expected to vote on the measure next week, according to White House economic adviser Brian Deese.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.83 points, or 0.16%, to 36,387.78, the S&P 500 gained 5.3 points, or 0.11%, to 4,702.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 40.95 points, or 0.26%, to 16,012.54.

Among the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, materials notched the largest percentage gains, while utilities were down the most.

The third-quarter reporting season has reached the final stretch, with 445 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported as of Friday. Of those, 81% have come in above analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related stocks, including those of Coinbase Global <COIN.O<, Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings and MicroStrategy Inc rose between 6% and 18%, as ether scaled new peaks and bitcoin neared a record high.

Shares of cosmetics maker Coty Inc surged 11.5% after the company hiked annual organic sales forecast.

Nextdoor Holdings Inc jumped 30.6% in its volatile debut after the neighborhood network platform was brought public in a deal with Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.28-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.15-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 50 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 189 new highs and 45 new lows.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)

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