U.S. stocks were mixed in the early minutes of trading, with technology shares surging and pandemic-sensitive stocks broadly lower amid fears of disruption to coronavirus vaccine supplies.
The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1%, suggesting an extension to last week’s gains that saw the index notch a record Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.3%.
“You’re getting rotation out of the more cyclical stocks. These big tech stocks are perceived as a bit of a haven trade,” said Michael Hewson, a chief markets analyst at CMC Markets. “There’s also talk of disruptions to vaccine supply, so we’ll likely have slower vaccine rollout and tighter restrictions for longer. What we’re seeing is a recovery deferred, or delayed.”
Pharmaceutical giant Merck scrapped its plans to develop a Covid-19 vaccine after trials yielded disappointing results, pulling a major player out of the race amid heavy demand for shots. This came after AstraZeneca warned on Friday that its vaccine deliveries to the European Union would lag projections.
More than one-fifth of the broad S&P 500 index and a third of Dow Jones Industrial Average components are scheduled to release earnings this week. Starbucks , Verizon and Microsoft are slated for Tuesday. Other major tech firms are reporting later in the week, including Apple, Tesla and Facebook on Wednesday.