Wall Street ends mixed as Treasury yields pause

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  • FedEx jumps as profit soars on pandemic-fueled demand
  • Banks drop as Fed to let leverage exemption expire
  • Nike falls after sales miss estimates
  • Indexes: Dow -0.71%, S&P 500 -0.06%, Nasdaq +0.76%

March 19 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq ended higher on Friday, lifted by Facebook and energy shares, while the S&P 500 lost ground as U.S. Treasury yields took a break from a recent surge.

Reversing a recent trend, so-called growth stocks mostly outperformed value stocks viewed as likely to benefit most as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The yield on U.S. 10-year notes , which has risen sharply in the past seven weeks on growth expectations, hovered near a 14-month peak at $1.742%.

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"What we see today is a more stable rate environment across the curve after multiple weeks of rising interest rates, and we are seeing some degree of reversal of leadership in the equity market," said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) rallied 4.1% and provided the biggest boost to the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) imminent privacy policy changes on ad sales would leave the social network in a "stronger position."

The S&P 500 banks index (.SPXBK) dropped 1.6% after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would not extend a temporary capital buffer relief put in place to ease a pandemic-driven stress in the funding market.

"Banks have had such a significant up move this year and this news has only acted as a catalyst for profit taking," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

Optimism about a $1.9 trillion fiscal package and the Fed's promise to maintain its ultra-loose policy stance for years has accelerated a shift into economy-linked stocks, powering the S&P 500 and the Dow to record levels this week.

However, the Nasdaq is still about 6% below its Feb. 12 all-time closing high as technology and high-growth stocks have lost favor in recent months, with their valuations looking less attractive as Treasury yields rise.

The S&P 500 growth index rose 0.35%, outperforming the value index's 0.48% dip.

Several bond managers believe the recent pace of the rise in yields has been unsettling and also worry the market could be viewed as disorderly if the momentum continues.

A nearly empty trading floor is seen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 0.71% to end at 32,627.97 points, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.06% to 3,913.1.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) climbed 0.76% to 13,215.24.

For the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell 0.8%, while the Dow lost 0.5%.

Trading was orderly despite Friday being quadruple witching, the once-in-a-quarter simultaneous expiration of various derivatives, which often spurs heavy trading volume and some volatility.

"I think you saw a lot of the movement yesterday with that big selloff at the end of the day. A lot of that was to do with people closing out positions," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 16.5 billion shares, compared with the 14.4 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Visa Inc (V.N) fell more than 6%, erasing almost $30 billion of market capitalization after reports that the company is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. read more

FedEx Corp (FDX.N) rallied 6.1% after the U.S. delivery firm said quarterly profit jumped more than expected on higher prices and surging volume from pandemic-fueled e-commerce deliveries during the holiday shipping season. read more

Nike Inc (NKE.N) fell 4% after the sports apparel maker missed quarterly sales estimates due to shipping issues and a pandemic-related slump at brick-and-mortar stores. read more

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.25-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 119 new highs and 26 new lows.

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Reporting by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.

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