Stocks mostly rise as tech shares gain; oil prices slip

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe rose for a ninth session and U.S. stocks ended mostly higher on Thursday, supported by technology shares, while oil prices slipped.

The technology sector gained 1.1% and gave the S&P 500 its biggest boost, while energy fell along with oil prices.

Oil prices slid, ending a streak of strong gains after both OPEC and the International Energy Agency said renewed lockdowns and the emergence of new coronavirus variants reduced the prospect of a swift demand recovery.

Brent futures fell 33 cents to settle at $61.14 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 44 cents to $58.24.

Tempering some enthusiasm in stocks, U.S. President Joe Biden said China was poised to “eat our lunch.” Biden told a group of U.S. senators in a meeting to discuss the need to upgrade U.S. infrastructure that the United States must raise its game in the face of the challenge from China.

U.S.-listed shares of cannabis companies reversed dropped sharply after the sector caught the attention of Reddit-inspired retail investors this week. Tilray was last down 49.7%.

Investors continued to digest a dovish Federal Reserve outlook. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reassured investors on Wednesday that interest rates will remain low for some time to spur the economy and jobs growth, but provided no new insights on monetary policy.

“As long as the economic news is difficult the Fed is going to continue to act, which will prop up the stock market,” said Sandy Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Wall Street’s main indexes have hit record highs recently on prospects of the $1.9 trillion relief bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.1 points, or 0.02%, to 31,430.7, the S&P 500 gained 6.5 points, or 0.17%, to 3,916.38 and the Nasdaq Composite added 53.24 points, or 0.38%, to 14,025.77.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.46% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.25%.

In the cryptocurrency sector, bitcoin hit another record of $48,481.45, as it continues its march toward the $50,000 mark. It was last up 6.3% at $47,685, rising after news that BNY Mellon became the latest firm to embrace cryptocurrencies.

The dollar fell against some of the major currencies, weighed down by slightly weaker-than-expected U.S. jobless claims data that followed tepid inflation numbers.

The dollar index fell 0.033%, with the euro up 0.02% to $1.2131.

U.S. Treasury yields rose after the Treasury Department saw soft demand for a sale of new 30-year bonds, but they held below highs reached earlier this week after inflation data on Wednesday disappointed.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 1.1648%, from 1.152% late on Wednesday.