Stocks open broadly higher on Wall Street, bond yields ease

Stocks opened broadly higher today, helped by easing bond yields, which have been a point of concern for a growing number of investors in recent weeks. Traders were also watching Washington as a big economic stimulus bill moved to the Senate.

The S&P 500 added 1.5% as of 8:50 a.m. Central. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.3%. More than 95% of the stocks in the index were higher, led by energy companies and airlines.

Much of the focus on Wall Street is on the bond market. The yield of the 10-year Treasury note was down to 1.43% after briefly hitting the psychologically important 1.5% mark late last week. Bond yields have been steadily climbing much of the year, as investors have bet that coronavirus vaccination efforts and additional government stimulus will lead to strong economic growth this year. However, along with strong economic growth comes concerns of inflation.

A handful high-level officials with the Federal Reserve will make speeches this week, which will give investors additional information on how concerned the nation’s central bank is about the economy and inflation. Lael Brainard, an advocate for looser monetary policies, will give a speech on Tuesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a speech on Thursday.

The House of Representatives approved Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Friday and it now goes to the Senate for approval. The bill infuses cash across the struggling economy to individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by COVID-19.

The stimulus bill would include yet another round of one-time payments to most Americans, including an expansion of other refundable tax credits like the child tax credit, and additional aid to state and local governments to combat the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.5% after the Food and Drug Administration gave approval for the company’s own coronavirus vaccine, one that does not require extensive refrigeration like the ones made by Moderna or Pfizer.

Investors will get several big economic reports this week, including February’s jobs report on Friday. Today a report on manufacturing came in better than expectations, and new orders also came in better than expected.