Dow Closes Higher, Nasdaq Slips on First Trading Day in May

The Dow and S&P 500 end higher on the first trading day of May as investors bet on a strong U.S. recovery.
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Stocks finished mixed Monday as Wall Street kicked off the first trading day of May with investors betting on a strong U.S. recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 238 points, or 0.7%, to 34,113, and the S&P 500 rose 0.27%. The Nasdaq ended down 0.48%, led by declines of 3.5% in Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report and 2.3% in Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report.

Stocks have traded higher in recent weeks amid optimism that the pandemic in the U.S. was receding as vaccination programs have helped people get back to work and restrictions have been lifted. The S&P 500 rose 5.2% in April.

But with the reopening of the economy has come concern about rising inflation and worries the Federal Reserve could begin tapering its $120 billion of monthly asset purchases.

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen played down the risks of higher inflation while supporting President Joe Biden's economic plans totaling roughly $6 trillion.

Yellen said Sunday that the U.S. government spending would be spread over a decade.

"It's spread out quite evenly over eight to 10 years," Yellen said in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

She also promised that American families who earn less than $400,000 a year won't see their taxes go up, despite talk of an increase in rates for America's wealthy under Biden's plans.

Trillions in government spending, record-low interest rates and ongoing purchases in the bond market that have kept financial markets in check have "resurrected" the world's biggest economy "in an extraordinarily effective way," according to billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Buffett told the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Report that Big Tech giants such as Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report and Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report were "incredible in terms of what they earn on capital, ... they don’t require a lot of capital, and they gush out more money.”

Shares of Berkshire Hathaway rose after Buffett said Greg Abel, vice chairman of the group's noninsurance businesses, likely would be his successor.

Growth at U.S. manufacturers slowed in April, according to data from the Institute for Supply Management. A gauge of factory activity fell to 60.7 from a more than 37-year high of 64.7 a month earlier.

Earnings have been posted by more than half the companies in the S&P 500 and almost 90% have beaten earnings projections, Bloomberg said. That would be the best reading since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 1993.

Close to 140 companies in the index will report this week, including Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and General Motors  (GM) - Get Report.

Alphabet and Apple are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, pushed past $3,000 over the past 24 hours and has eaten into bitcoin’s dominance of the total cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin, the largest digital currency, now accounts for about 47% of total crypto market value of $2.3 trillion, according to CoinGecko. 

That's down from about 70% at the start of the year. Ethereum now accounts for about 15% of the crypto market.