Stocks Head North on Retail Gains

U.S. stocks climbed on Monday, the first trading day of May, as shares tied to the economic reopening rallied on relaxed pandemic restrictions.

The Dow Jones Industrials descended from its highs of the day, but still vaulted 238.38 points from Friday’s close to finish an impressive Monday at 34,113.23

The S&P 500 picked up 11.49 points to 4,192.66.

The NASDAQ Composite slid 67.56 points to 13,895.12, after Big Tech stocks pulled back following a strong month.

Bets on the economic reopening led the market advance, especially retailers. Royal Caribbean and American Airlines rose more than 1% each. Gap rallied more than 7%. Dillard’s rose nearly 10%, while Macy

The rally in these stocks came after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that most capacity restrictions will be lifted across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, while 24-hour subway service will resume in New York City later this month.

Berkshire Hathaway shares rose 1.6% after Warren Buffett’s conglomerate reported a 20% surge in operating earnings and continued to buy back large amounts of its own shares. Buffett also revealed that when he is no longer in charge, Greg Abel, vice chairman of all non-insurance operations, will succeed him.

Bets on the economic reopening led the market advance. Gap jumped more than 4%, while Disney and Royal Caribbean rose more than 1% each. Caterpillar and Travelers Companies also both gained about 1%.

Shares of Verizon rose 0.2% after the telecom giant said it will sell its media group to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. The sale allows Verizon to offload properties from the former internet empires of AOL and Yahoo.

Monday marks the first trading day of May. Despite Friday’s weakness in equities, the S&P 500 notched its third straight month of gains in April, adding more than 5% to the index as investors bet on a big economic and profit recovery from the pandemic.

The S&P 500 is now up 11% for the year. The benchmark closed at record levels on Thursday on the heels of blowout earnings results from Apple and Facebook.

The Dow rose about 2.7% last month, while the NASDAQ Composite gained 5.4% in April.

Some investors are expecting weakness in the new month given the old “sell-in-May-and-go-away” Wall Street adage. This mantra calls for taking off risk from May to October, a period where the market is more prone to selloffs historically.

A separate gauge from Institute for Supply Management signaled a slowdown in manufacturing activities. The ISM Manufacturing PMI for April came in at 60.7, compared to the expected 65.0 and March’s level of 64.7.

April’s jobs report will be released on Friday.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were higher, lowering yields to 1.60% from Friday’s 1.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices moved ahead 86 cents to $64.44 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices raced $24.70 to $1,792.40 U.S. an ounce.