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S&P 500 sets a new record in mixed stock market conditions

Small-company stocks declined and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell. The 0.4% increase in S&P 500 index was mainly driven by gains for a few Big Tech companies. Stocks fell slightly than they rose. Apple, Amazon, and Facebook all saw increases of 2% or greater. Tech-rich Nasdaq gained 0.9%. Affirm surged 47% following the announcement by payments company Affirm that it had partnered with Amazon to offer customers a buy-now, pay-later option without credit cards.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Below is the original story by AP.

Wall Street stocks were mostly higher Monday, and they remained close to record highs last week after investors received an update from Federal Reserve.

The central bank indicated that it would continue to maintain low interest rates while the economy recovers from the pandemic. As investors tried to determine how fast and how much the Fed would reduce its support, markets have been volatile. Low interest rates will not change for the foreseeable future, according to a speech Friday by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

"When you look at the situation, it gives the impression that things are good, and Powell basically said he wasn't going to take away the punch bowl," stated Brad McMillan chief investment officer of Commonwealth Financial Network.

As of 2:40 pm, the S&P 500 had risen 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite grew 1%.

Technology stocks, which have low interest rates, did a lot of the heavy lifting in the wider market. The benchmark S&P 500 was also lifted by solid gains from health care companies.

The yields on bonds edged down. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.28%, from 1.31% on Friday.

Energy prices were mixed as the the full impact of Hurricane Ida is still being assessed. Economists suggest that although the storm could have a significant impact on the shipping, energy and chemical industries along the Gulf Coast, the overall economic impact should be minimal so long as the damage estimates don’t rise significantly and the refinery shut downs are not prolonged.

Crude oil prices rose 0.8% while natural gas prices fell 2.5% after Colonial Pipeline stopped deliveries to the south, until it could assess the damage caused by the storm.

Stocks rose after deal news. Affirm soared 47% after the payments company announced a deal last week with Amazon to offer shoppers a buy-now-pay-later option that doesn't involve credit cards. Hill-Rom Holdings rose 9.9% after reports that Baxter International was interested in purchasing the medical technology company.

Investors can look forward to several important economic reports this week, including consumer confidence on Tuesday, and the Labor Department's monthly employment survey on Friday. These reports could be used to help investors gauge the path of economic recovery, as the latter is subject to resistance from the more contagious Delta variant.

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