NEW YORK — Stocks are slipping Monday as trading cools on Wall Street and in markets around the world following record-setting runs.
The S&P 500 was 0.3% lower in afternoon trading and on pace to take a breather from a four-day winning streak that carried it to more all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 20 points, or 0.1%, at 31,078, as of 1:23 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.6% lower.
Analysts said a pullback was no surprise following the big rally recently for everything from stocks to bond yields to commodities amid a wave of optimism. With Democrats set to take control of Washington, investors expect Congress to try soon to deliver more stimulus to the economy through larger cash payments for Americans and other programs. That's building on top of enthusiasm already built about a powerful economic recovery coming later this year as COVID-19 vaccines roll out.
The market managed to essentially shrug off much of last week's bad news, including the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, surging virus cases, and a disappointing employment report, said Julian Emanuel, BTIG chief equity and derivatives strategist. That both speaks to the market's resiliency and could signal a change in attitudes.
"The fact that the market shrugged all of this news off, it's ushering in a more speculative stage in the bull market," he said.
The big rally means stocks and other investments are even more expensive, leaving critics to say they've gone too high. One of the main ways professional investors gauge a stock's value is by measuring its price against how much profit it made in the prior 12 months. Stocks in the S&P 500 are trading at roughly 29 times their earnings. That's a much more expensive price tag than their average over the last decade of a little below 18, according to FactSet.
"Given where we are in terms of valuation, there's not going to be tolerance for news that isn't good," Emanuel said.
At the same time, the worsening pandemic continues to slam the economy. U.S. employers cut more jobs last month than they added, for example, the first month of job losses since last spring. New, potentially more contagious strains of the coronavirus are helping the pandemic to tighten its grip on the economy around the world.
In the background, political uncertainty also continues to hang over markets. Democrats are pushing for the removal of President Donald Trump, who has less than two weeks left in his term, after his words helped incite a group of loyalists to storm the Capitol last week.
Shares of Twitter sank 5.3% for the largest loss in the S&P 500 after it banned Trump from his account and his 89 million followers.
Other areas of the market were also losing momentum, but not by as much as social media stocks and Big Tech.