US stocks little changed at open

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the healthcare index's 0.22 per cent fall leading the decliners.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the healthcare index's 0.22 per cent fall leading the decliners. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US stocks swung between gains and losses on Monday as technology stocks buoyed the Nasdaq, while losses in healthcare weighed on the S&P 500 and the Dow.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the healthcare index's 0.22 per cent fall leading the decliners. The infotech index was up 0.27 per cent.

President Donald Trump's effort to roll back Obamacare faced growing obstacles on Monday as Republicans remained divided over how to curb the costs of their proposed healthcare bill and prevent millions from losing coverage.

Investors were wary of making big bets ahead of the start of the earnings season, with big U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup reporting on Friday. In a significant victory for the banking industry, the Fed late last month approved plans from the 34 largest US banks to use extra capital for stock buybacks, dividends and other purposes.

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"I think what's happening today is the markets are in a wait-and-see approach ahead of the next big catalyst, which is earnings season," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park Investments in Florida. "The way I see what's happening today is just a little bit of rotation occurring where you're selling leadership and you're buying undervalued, or you're hunting for value."

The three major indexes are trading close to record levels, boosted by strong economic data and robust corporate performance in the first quarter. Markets closed on a high on Friday after a payrolls report gave investors more confidence in the strength of the US economy.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 222,000 jobs last month, a report by the US Labor Department showed on Friday. It was the second biggest increase this year and topped economists'expectations for a 179,000 gain. The dollar climbed to a two-month high against the Japanese yen on Monday as a robust jobs data propped up US Treasury yields.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual testimony is the key highlight of this week for investors looking for cues on further rate hikes. She will testify on Wednesday and Thursday.