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Growth stocks push Nasdaq, S&P 500 lower as rising yields weigh

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(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes came under pressure on Monday as climbing Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, and investors are expected to look for any potential changes to the central bank’s dovish outlook in recent months.

Shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Tesla Inc, Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc resumed their slide from the previous week, falling between 0.7% and 5%.

A largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings had powered Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs earlier last week, but the rally lost steam on fears of a potential snag in countrywide inoculation efforts and inflation concerns rising from a raft of stimulus measures.

“There’s little new money going into the market. It is like everyone has bought in and, at some point, there’s an exhaustion of buyers and the market tends to come down a little bit,” said David Keller, chief market strategist at StockCharts.com.

“The market is recognizing the general euphoric sentiment conditions that we’ve had.”

The benchmark 10-year yield was little changed on Monday but had been as high as 1.394% overnight, the highest since Feb 2020.

The S&P 500 was down 21.41 points, or 0.55%, at 3,885.30, on track for a five-day losing, its worst in one year.

Value stocks have outperformed growth shares in February, with investors betting on a rebound in industrial activity and a pick up in consumer demand as countries roll out vaccines to tame the pandemic.

The S&P 500 industrials and financial sector rose 1.0% each, while energy stocks surged 4.3% on higher oil prices.

At 12:04 p.m. ET, the Nasdaq Composite was down 234.03 points, or 1.69%, at 13,640.44, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 29.43 points, or 0.09%, at 31,523.75, with Walt Disney Co boosting the blue-chip index.

Discovery Inc jumped 9.2% after the media company said it was expecting 12 million global paid streaming subscribers by the end of February, as coronavirus-led restrictions kept people at home.

Kohl’s Corp gained 9.4% after a group of activist investors nominated nine directors to the department store chain’s board.

Principal Financial Group Inc added 8.9% after a media report that activist investor Elliott Management Corp had taken a stake in the life insurance company and planned to push for changes.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 59 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 218 new highs and seven new low.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shounak Dasgupta

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