Stocks finish mixed as bond yields reach pre-coronavirus levels

Oil, gasoline prices jump as Texas remains in deep freeze

U.S. equity markets ended mixed Tuesday as climbing bond yields produced a cautious trade.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES31547.39-414.47-1.30%
SP500S&P 5003852.28-73.15-1.86%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX13246.932846-351.03-2.58%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 64 points, or 0.2%, to a record high while the Nasdaq Composite slumped 0.34%. The S&P 500 finished little changed.

The choppy session came as all three of the major averages hit intraday all-time highs early on Tuesday with the Dow climbing by as many as 150 points before paring its gains.

The air came out of the stock market as the benchmark 10-year yield approached 1.3%, a level last seen just before the U.S. economy was devastated by lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. The selloff in the Treasury complex swung the spread between the 2-year and 10-year yield to 116 basis points, its widest point in nearly four years.

Higher yields can signal more expensive borrowing costs which helped drive shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America Corp. which all benefitted from the steeper yield curve.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
JPMJP MORGAN CHASE & CO.151.91-1.19-0.78%
GSGOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC.330.33+0.02+0.01%
BACBANK OF AMERICA CORP.36.10-0.29-0.81%

Elsewhere, Oil and gas producers were higher as frigid wintry weather snarled production and refining operations in parts of Texas.

BIDEN SHUTTING DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE WOULD CAUSE FOOD PRICES TO SPIKE

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
XOMEXXON MOBIL CORPORATION56.17-0.54-0.94%
CVSCVS HEALTH CORPORATION69.59-0.78-1.11%

Among the companies shutting operations was ExxonMobil Corp. which temporarily shut its Beaumont, Texas, oil refinery, according to a Reuters report, citing sources. The decision comes a day after Exxon closed its complex in neighboring Port Arthur, Texas.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 58 cents to $60.05 per barrel and RBOB gasoline jumped 8.04 cents to $1.7729 per gallon.

In earnings, CVS Health Corp. reported quarterly sales rose 4% from a year ago as COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration provided a lift, helping to partially offset higher costs at its health insurance unit.

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Palantir Technologies Inc. posted a surprise quarterly loss, but revenue outperformed Wall Street expectations.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PLTRPALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES INC.24.43-1.95-7.39%

Meanwhile, MicroStrategy Inc. announced plans to sell $600 million of convertible notes to increase its holdings of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MSTRMICROSTRATEGY767.53-50.16-6.13%

European markets were little changed with Germany's DAX 30 down 0.32%, Britain’s FTSE 100 off 0.11% and France’s CAC 40 unchanged.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.28% to its highest level since 1990 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.9% as traders returned to work following an extended break for the Lunar New Year. China’s Shanghai Composite index remained closed for holiday.