REUTERS: The Nasdaq ended at a new closing high on Tuesday but the broad market closed slightly lower as investors rotated out of large-cap tech names into other sectors seen as benefiting from President Joe Biden's proposed US$1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit an all-time high for the fifth consecutive session on early gains in Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc, which later turned lower amid a shift in portfolio allocations.
The NYSE FANG+TM index, which includes Facebook Inc, Netflix Inc and Tesla Inc, rose to an all-time high.
With the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases falling and expectations the stimulus package will be approved in Congress, investors are hard-pressed to find significant negatives, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
"You're not seeing money coming out of the market and going into cash," James said. "You're seeing money coming out of one sector and being rotated into another sector to maintain an overall long bias."
Largely upbeat corporate earnings, along with monetary and fiscal support, have powered the major U.S. stock indexes to record highs. But analysts caution the new COVID variants and any glitches in vaccine rollouts could sour positive sentiment.
"The backdrop is largely positive for stocks and I'm not sure there could be a better backdrop for risk assets in the near to intermediate term," said William Herrmann, co-founder and managing partner at Wilshire Phoenix in New York City.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10.72 points, or 0.03per cent, to 31,375.04, the S&P 500 lost 4.3 points, or 0.11per cent, to 3,911.29 and the Nasdaq Composite added 20.06 points, or 0.14per cent, to 14,007.70.
The energy sector, among those that led the recent rally, slipped a bit, while communication services rose.
Data last week showing slower-than-expected jobs growth in the labor market underscored the need for more government aid to blunt the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden has said.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate continue to try to find a way to include a minimum wage increase in a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill they aim to advance in the coming weeks, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.
Toymaker Mattel Inc rose, while telephone equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc slipped ahead of reporting earnings after market close.
Analysts forecast a fourth-quarter S&P earnings gain of about 2.5per cent, a stark reversal from the 10.3per cent annual decline seen at the beginning of the year, per Refinitiv.
Gucci lipstick maker Coty Inc tumbled as weak demand for makeup products wiped millions off its quarterly revenue.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc fell after the videogame publisher posted a drop in quarterly adjusted sales and shied away from announcing any new big releases.
Bitcoin fast approached the US$50,000-mark as the afterglow of Elon Musk-led Tesla's investment in the cryptocurrency had investors reckoning it may become a mainstream asset class for both corporations and money managers.
Cryptocurrency miner Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group extended sharp gains for the second day, but Tesla's shares dropped.
(Fixes typo in Tuesday in first paragraph)
(Reporting by Herbert Lash, with additional reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Dan Grebler)