S&P 500, Nasdaq hit records as tech fuels rally

Moderna cuts its 2022 forecast for COVID-19 vaccine sales

U.S. stocks were mixed Thursday with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rallying to record highs a day after the Federal Reserve announced plans to begin tapering asset purchases. 

The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.42% and 0.81%, respectively, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 32 points, or 0.09%. The Dow's loss pushed the index off its own record peak. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34451.65 -188.14 -0.54%
SP500 S&P 500 4518.65 -58.45 -1.28%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14993.184798 -388.13 -2.52%

The Fed said Wednesday that later this month it would begin to scale back its purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. Markets are pricing in the first rate increase to occur in July.  

In stocks, Moderna Inc. posted quarterly earnings and sales that missed analyst expectations and slashed its 2021 forecast for COVID-19 vaccine sales due to production snags. The drug maker sees full-year sales for its vaccine to be between $15 billion and $18 billion, down from $20 billion previously. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRNA MODERNA, INC. 297.98 -3.51 -1.16%

Qualcomm Inc. reported smartphone chip sales soared 56% year over year and the company issued strong guidance for the current quarter. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
QCOM QUALCOMM, INC. 175.20 -1.83 -1.03%

Roku Inc. guided revenue for the critical holiday quarter below Wall Street estimates. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
ROKU ROKU, INC. 201.56 -8.70 -4.14%

Wayfair Inc. booked a quarterly loss and reported sales that fell short of expectations as consumers shifted their spending habits as the economy reopened from COVID-19 restrictions. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
W WAYFAIR, INC. 230.62 -5.91 -2.50%

Airbnb Inc., Square Inc. and Dropbox Inc. are among the companies scheduled to report after the closing bell.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
ABNB AIRBNB, INC. 164.25 -5.35 -3.15%
SQ SQUARE, INC. 176.19 -16.78 -8.70%
DBX DROPBOX, INC. 23.82 -0.65 -2.64%

Meanwhile, MGM Resorts International announced plans to sell its Mirage casino in Las Vegas.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MGM MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL 40.73 -0.49 -1.19%

In labor news, Kellogg Co. failed to reach a deal with U.S. cereal plant workers who have been on strike since Oct. 5 and are seeking higher wages and improved benefits. The cereal maker said its latest offer rejected by the union was its "last best offer."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
K KELLOGG CO. 63.02 +1.08 +1.74%
DE DEERE & CO. 349.35 -1.20 -0.34%

Deere & Co. said the most recent offer rejected by the United Auto Workers was its "best and final offer." The contract would have given workers a 10% raise this year and 5% raises in 2023 and 2025 in addition to lump-sum bonuses worth 3% of pay in 2022, 2024 and 2026.  

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slid $2.05 to $78.81 a barrel and gold climbed $29.40 to $1,793 an ounce.

Overseas markets were broadly higher. 

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In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 ticked up 0.43% after the Bank of England surprised investors by holding rates near zero. Elsewhere in the region, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.53% and Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.44%. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 paced the gains in Asia, trading up 0.93%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and China’s Shanghai Composite rallied 0.8% and 0.81%, respectively.