S&P 500, Nasdaq up as tech stocks rise after J&J vaccine pause

  • J&J shares hit one-month low
  • Rival vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna jump
  • Big bank earnings to kick off from Wednesday
  • Crypto-stocks jump ahead of Coinbase IPO
  • Indexes: Dow off 0.36%, S&P up 0.12%, Nasdaq up 0.50%

April 13 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high on Tuesday and the Nasdaq jumped as investors flocked to technology-related stocks after the United States’ pause in the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine sparked fears of a delay in a broader economic rebound.

The drugmaker’s shares (JNJ.N) fell 2.7% to a one-month low as calls for pausing the use of its COVID-19 vaccine after six women developed rare blood clots dealt a fresh setback to efforts to tackle the pandemic.

The technology (.SPLRCT) and consumer discretionary (.SPLRCD) sectors, which house high-flying technology names that flourished during coronavirus-induced lockdowns last year, rose 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively. Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) gained between 0.4% and 1.3%.

The news also helped Wall Street’s main indexes shrug off a solid jump in the consumer price index (CPI) in March, kicking off what most economists expect will be a brief period of higher inflation.

"While the jump in CPI is pretty significant, the market may take it with a grain of salt - it could already be priced in as the market has been skittish about rates for some time," said Mike Loewengart, managing director at investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.

"The real curveball today is the J&J vaccine halt, although this too may be shrugged off as a minor setback. While this may cause some short-term volatility, investors have been pretty steadfast in their faith in a full economic recovery."

White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said it was too soon to say what impact the pause could have on President Joe Biden’s push to reopen the country.

A U.S flag is seen on the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 6, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

At 11:56 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 120.21 points, or 0.36% , to 33,625.19, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 4.79 points, or 0.12 %, to 4,132.78 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) gained 69.93 points, or 0.50 %, to 13,919.93.

The NYSE FANG+TM Index (.NYFANG) jumped 1.4%, rising for the 12th straight session.

Meanwhile, cruise operators, airlines and hotel chains that are poised to benefit from an economic reopening, driven by vaccine distributions, edged lower.

Investors were marking time ahead of the first-quarter earnings season that begin in earnest, with results from Goldman Sachs (GS.N), JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N) expected on Wednesday.

Analysts expect earnings for S&P 500 firms to have jumped 25% from a year earlier, driven by strength in consumer discretionary and financial companies, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms Riot Blockchain (RIOT.O) jumped 7.6% and Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA.O) added 5.7% as bitcoin prices soared 5%, a day ahead of listing of Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.3-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 99 new highs and 65 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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