Major indexes on track for eighth positive month of the past nine
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The Dow industrials traded in record territory on Monday, but the broader market came under selling pressure as the volatile technology sector slumped. All three major indexes, however, remained on track to close out one of their strongest months of the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 85 points, or 0.4%, to 21,915, hitting an intraday record in early trading at 21,916.67.
The S&P 500 index rose 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,473, with financials advancing 0.8% to lead the benchmark's 11 sector advancers, while tech, materials and retail traded at least 0.4% lower.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index fell 18 points, or 0.3%, to 6,356.
Despite the dip on the day, the S&P is within 1 percentage point off its own record, while the Nasdaq is 1.5% from its own.
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For the month, the Dow is up 2.6% while the S&P is up 2% and the Nasdaq has risen 3.6%. July is on track to be the second-best month of the year for both the Dow and the S&P, and both are looking at their fourth straight monthly gain, as well as their eight monthly increase of the past nine months. The Nasdaq, which had a negative month in June, is also on track for its eighth positive month of the past nine.
"I recognize that valuations are not cheap, and that's why stocks will have to advance on their earnings, which have been pretty good. As long as that remains the case, the market will grind higher and continue to support full valuations," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
Tech shares were among the weakest on Monday, with the group down 0.2%. Among the most active names, Facebook Inc. (FB) fell 1.3% while Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) was off 1%. Among other internet names, Amazon.com(AMZN) was down 2.2% while Netflix (NFLX) shed 1.1%.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) may have a sway on how the rest of the week goes for tech stocks, and maybe the larger market, with the iPhone maker due to report results on Tuesday. Asked to name a segment of the market that looked expensive, Luschini noted the "rally in a very narrow group of technology, which has perhaps become clouded."
See also:A quarter of S&P 500's 2017 climb due to five stocks (yes, those five) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-quarter-of-sp-500s-2017-climb-due-to-five-stocks-yes-those-five-2017-07-27)
Read:Apple earnings: How long will iPhone sales be on 'pause'? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-how-long-will-iphone-sales-be-on-pause-2017-07-31)
See:Ignoring Washington chaos, companies likely kept up strong hiring in July (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ignoring-washington-chaos-companies-likely-kept-up-strong-hiring-in-july-2017-07-30)
In the latest economic data, the Chicago purchasing managers index fell to 58.9 in July from 65.7 in the previous month. Separately, pending-home sales rose 1.5% in June (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pending-home-sales-snap-three-month-losing-streak-with-15-gain-in-june-2017-07-31), snapping a three-month streak of declines.
China data: U.S. stocks were tracking gains in Europe and Asia. European mining stocks rose after data from China, a big buyer of industrial and precious metals, showed construction activity at its highest level since December 2013. But China manufacturing activity fell more than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-pmi-numbers-fall-slightly-in-july-2017-07-30) in July, which hinted of a slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.
Read:Can China make the reflation trade great again? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/can-china-make-the-reflation-trade-great-again-2017-07-28)
Gold prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-slips-but-move-barely-dents-solid-july-performance-2017-07-31) traded slightly lower, though industrial metal copper rose 0.5% to $2.89 a pound.
Stocks to watch: Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) retreated by 1.6%, as a so-called lockup period, where some investors and employees will now be allowed to sell shares, expires Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/can-snap-fall-even-more-as-lockups-expire-2017-07-26).
Dynavax Technologies Corp. (DVAX) surged 77% after a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee said the safety data for its hepatitis B vaccination supported its approval (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dynavax-shares-skyrocket-nearly-90-after-fda-advisory-committee-vote-2017-07-31).
Shares of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.(SNI) rose 0.6% after Discovery Communications Inc.(DISCK)(DISCK) said it would buy the owner of HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel among others (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/discovery-to-buy-scripps-in-deal-valued-at-146-billion-including-debt-2017-07-31). Shares of Discovery Communications fell more than 7%.
Shares of Tesla(TSLA) fell 2%. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk detailed the price of the Model 3 at a launch party on Friday evening, when he said reservations for the new model stood at more than 500,000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-gets-the-35000-tesla-model-3-price-tag-he-wanted-but-extras-cost-more-2017-07-29). Tesla will report quarterly earnings on Wednesday; the stock has gained nearly 60% thus far this year.
Other markets: Oil futures were drifting south. Investors are keeping an eye on speculation the U.S. may step up sanctions against Venezuela (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-may-impose-sanctions-on-venezuelas-oil-industry-in-wake-of-controversial-election-2017-07-30)--a major exporter of oil to the U.S. and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In a referendum over the weekend, President Nicolás Maduro's government claimed it has won (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/maduro-claims-victory-in-violent-venezuela-vote-but-count-is-disputed-2017-07-31) overwhelming powers to redraft Venezuela's constitution.
See:How Venezuela chaos could spark oil rally OPEC has failed to achieve (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-venezuela-could-spark-the-oil-rally-opec-has-failed-to-achieve-2017-07-26)
European stock markets ended lower Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-gain-as-miners-strengthen-inflation-data-on-tap-2017-07-31) with the Stoxx Europe 600 index booking a lackluster July finish, off 0.1% on the day. In Asia, stocks finished the day and month of July mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-slip-to-end-mostly-positive-month-2017-07-30). The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose 6% for the month.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 31, 2017 12:54 ET (16:54 GMT)