Stocks near flat after run to records; bitcoin climbs again

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity indexes were near unchanged on Tuesday, while bitcoin climbed to another all-time peak, extending gains in the wake of an endorsement from Tesla Inc.

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The S&P 500 was flat in afternoon New York trading after hitting another record earlier in the day and registering its sixth straight session of gains on Monday, while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was up slightly.

Investors awaited further news on the proposed $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus plan, and Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial on a charge of inciting last month’s deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol began, making Trump the first former U.S. president to be tried in the Senate.

Optimism over monetary and fiscal support from policymakers, robust corporate earnings and the prospect that coronavirus vaccines could hasten a return to normality in the United States and other countries have bolstered risk sentiment.

But concern remained over the pace of vaccination, its efficacy against new variants of the novel coronavirus and the damage being done to economies, including the impact on the dollar of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” said Josh Wein, portfolio manager with Hennessy Funds. “It won’t take a lot for the market to pause … whether it’s deliberations over fiscal stimulus, or the occasional talk of inflation or interest rates getting some lift.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.18 points, or 0.12%, to 31,422.94, the S&P 500 lost 0.28 points, or 0.01%, to 3,915.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.42 points, or 0.22%, to 14,018.06.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.09% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.26%.

In the volatile cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin soared to a new high, on its way toward another milestone: $50,000. It has surged more than 1,000% since March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, and analysts said forecasts of bitcoin hitting $100,000 this year don’t seem far-fetched.

The gains follow disclosures from Tesla on Monday that it had invested around $1.5 billion in the virtual currency and expects to accept it as payment for its cars in the future.

The dollar fell to a one-week low. The dollar index was last down 0.5%, with the euro up 0.48% to $1.2106.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields dipped as the recent rise in yields attracted buyers.

Benchmark 10-year yields jumped to their highest since March and 30-year bond yields rose above 2% for the first time since February on Monday as investors prepared for the prospect of faster U.S. growth and inflation, and new supply.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 1/32 in price to yield 1.1568%, from 1.16% late on Monday.

Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,835.42 an ounce. U.S. gold futures % to $1,834.30 an ounce.

Oil prices extended their rally for a seventh session to hit fresh 13-month highs. Brent was up 24 cents, or 0.8%, at $61.06 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) for March was at $58.30 a barrel, up 33 cents or 0.6%.

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