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, while the broader market's gains were held in check by losses in the technology sector.
All three major indexes remained on track to close out one of their strongest months of the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 90 points, or 0.4%, to 21,921, after hitting an intraday record earlier in the session at 21,926.80.
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.
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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.
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. Both are looking at their fourth straight monthly gain as well as their eight monthly increase of the past nine months. The Nasdaq, which lost ground in June, is also on track for its eighth positive month of the past nine.
Tech shares were among the weakest on Monday, with the sector down 0.5%. Among the most active names, Facebook Inc. (FB) fell 1.3% while Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)(GOOGL) was off 1%. Among other internet names, Amazon.com(AMZN) was down 2.2% while Netflix (NFLX) dropped 1.1%.
Bill Stone, global chief investment strategist, at PNC Asset Management Group, said there were no apparent catalysts for the decline in the tech sector and speculated that market participants may be tweaking their holdings with July coming to an end.
"I think that there may be some portfolio repositioning at month-end cause it is hard to put real fundamental data to [Monday's moves]," Stone said.
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)
Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, said although valuations in the tech group may be getting rich, he saw cause for shares in the group to climb further, including quarterly results that have come in better than expected.
"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," Luschini said.
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.
Stone said Wall Street may also be awaiting earnings from the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech behemoth. Investors may "standing on the sidelines," until Apple reports, he said.
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)
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.
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)
China data: 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, but industrial metal copper rose 0.5% to $2.89 a pound.
Stocks to watch: Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) retreated 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.
Now read:The stock market has about 12 mini flash crashes a day -- and we can't prevent them (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-stock-market-has-about-12-mini-flash-crashes-a-day-and-we-cant-prevent-them-2017-07-31)
--Mark DeCambre contributed to this article
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 31, 2017 13:31 ET (17:31 GMT)