Investing.com - Stocks finished flat on Monday as gains for energy stocks, pushed higher by rising oil prices, were offset by weakness in real-estate-related stocks.
Gains were held back in part because a number of financial markets were closed, including Germany, the U.K., France and Hong Kong.
Crude oil prices moved sharply higher after the Trump Administration threatened sanctions starting after May 2 against five countries if they continue to import Iranian oil. The group includes India, China, Turkey, Japan and South Korea. The goal is to cut Iranian exports close to zero and force the Iranian government to renegotiate a deal made with the Obama Administration.
The Trump administration and others, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, believe Iran uses its oil revenues to finance terrorist activities in the Middle East and elsewhere. The White House also believes Saudi Arabia and the UAE will boost production to offset the effect of the decline in Iranian supplies on global markets.
Real estate stocks were depressed in part by a weak report on existing home sales in March. The National Association of Realtors reported a 5% decline in sales from February. PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) and MDC Holdings (NYSE:MDC) ended the day lower, as did the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLRE) ETF.
Bond yields were slightly higher on the day. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.59% on Monday from Thursday's 2.56%. U.S. financial markets were closed Friday.
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) both hit 52-week highs. P&G reports quarterly earnings before Tuesday's open. Microsoft reports fiscal second-quarter results after Wednesday's close.
Among stocks in the S&P 500:
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