The major Wall Street indexes slid from record levels on Monday as investors awaited solid guidance from first-quarter earnings to justify the rich valuation equities are trading at, while Tesla Inc shares fell following a fatal car crash. The electric-car maker was down 3.32% after a Tesla vehicle believed to be operating without anyone in the driver‘s seat crashed into a tree on Saturday north of Houston, killing two occupants.
The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index. An 8.4% drop over the weekend in bitcoin, in which Tesla has a big investment, also weighed on its share price. The S&P 500 was mostly lower, with the consumer staples and real estate sectors trading near break-even, as analysts await results this week from 79 companies in the benchmark, including Johnson & Johnson, Netflix Inc, Intel Corp , Honeywell and Schlumberger.
Analysts expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 firms to have grown 30.9% from a year ago, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The U.S. economy is poised to boom as consumers hold $2 trillion in savings in excess of what they held before the pandemic, said Doug Peta, chief U.S. investment strategist at BCA Research, adding markets are in pause mode.
“If indeed we do keep grinding higher that would be healthy, that would suggest that the grinding higher is sustainable,” Peta said. “The pullbacks along the way are healthy.” By 1:44 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150.4 points, or 0.44%, to 34,050.27, the S&P 500 lost 24.91 points, or 0.60%, to 4,160.56 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 148.69 points, or 1.06%, to 13,903.66.
Coca-Cola Co rose 0.35% after the beverage maker trounced estimates for quarterly profit and revenue, benefiting from the easing of pandemic curbs and wide vaccine rollouts. International Business Machines Corp, another blue-chip company, slipped about 0.22% ahead of its results after market close.
“The market has had a huge jump to the upside so it needs to take a little bit of rest,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “For now it’s just a little bit of profit taking as traders await results from big tech names on Wall Street.”
A recent retreat in benchmark 10-year Treasury yields from 14-month highs has renewed interest in highly valued technology stocks, while a string of strong economic data has also helped push the S&P 500 and the Dow to record levels. The S&P 500 has gained the past four weeks, its longest winning streak since August 2020.
Harley-Davidson jumped 9% after the motorcycle maker raised it full-year forecast for sales growth. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.30-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 67 new highs and 81 new lows.