Tech stocks sink in early trading as bond yields climb again

Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as another sharp rise in bond yields unsettled investors. Technology stocks were among the biggest losers in the early going Friday, pulling the Nasdaq down 1.5% while the broader S&P 500 index gave back 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has less weighting with technology companies, edged up 0.1%. The mixed trading came a day after the S&P 500 and the Dow closed at their latest record highs. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose back up to 1.61%, well above the 1.52% it was trading at a day earlier.

World shares were mixed Friday after broad gains lifted several major indexes to all-time highs on Wall Street as the U.S. stimulus package finally became law.

Shares fell in Paris and Frankfurt but rose in Tokyo and Shanghai. Oil prices fell and the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury rose to 1.58%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a measure of small-company stocks all closed at record levels as President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion economic relief bill into law.

Tokyo’s benchmark rose 1.7%. Hong Kong declined but the Shanghai Composite index recovered from early losses. Oil prices fell and the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury rose to 1.57%.

U.S. markets surged Thursday after Biden signed into law a sweeping pandemic relief package that would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, and businesses affected by pandemic-related shutdowns, which began a year ago.

That and progress in vaccinations against Covid-19 have helped settle some of the uncertainty that has roiled markets in recent weeks.

“With regular service resumed, we can expect markets globally to end the week on a positive note,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. But a calming of worries over inflation, eased by a lower than expected U.S. consumer price reading for February, is likely temporary, he said.

Prices are expected to rise as the economy recovers.

“The inflation genie may have been put back into its bottle for the weekend, but someone is sure to pick it up and uncork it again soon,” Halley said.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.5% to 14,491.77 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2% to 6,025.96. In Britain, the FTSE 100 was flat, at 6,736.71. U.S. futures augured a lackluster start to Friday trading, with the contract for the S&P 500 down 0.4% and that for the Dow almost flat.

The respite for markets is likely to be brief, with the talks between U.S. and Chinese officials scheduled for March 18 in Anchorage, Alaska, expected to tackle intense disagreements over trade, the pandemic and human rights issues, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers.

It will be the first face-to-face talks since Biden took office at a time of growing strains between the two largest economies.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 1.7% to 29,717.83.

Rakuten jumped 8.6% and Japan Post shares advanced 4.9% after the two companies announced the postal giant will invest about $1.4 billion in an 8% stake in the e-commerce venture to strengthen a partnership in deliveries, fintech and other areas.

South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.4% to 3,054.39. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.8% to 6,766.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2.2% to 28,739.72, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.5% to 3,453.08.

On Thursday, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a measure of small-company stocks all closed at record levels as a recent stretch of volatile trading in the bond market continued to ease, keeping investors in a buying mood.

The S&P 500 added 1% to 3,939.34. The Dow added 0.6% to 32,485.59, its second all-time high in a row.

The Nasdaq composite gained 2.5% to 13,398.67. The tech-heavy index, which earlier in the week skidded more than 10% below its February peak, has regained some ground, but remains 4.9% below that all-time high.

Traders also bid up shares in smaller stocks, pushing the Russell 2000 index up 2.3% to 2,338.54.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 40 cents to $65.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 2.5% on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, lost 28 cents to $69.35 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar cost 109.11 Japanese yen, up from 108.53 yen late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1937 from $1.1983.