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After a relatively smooth start for US equity markets, prices soon turned south following the open. The E-mini S&P slipped from around 3,850 to 3,790 within around 15 minutes, with volume surging sharply. No specific headline or news catalyst prompted the move, with a number of risk-negative stories piling up to weigh on stocks. Moderna finding evidence that their vaccine had a reduced impact on the South African variant of COVID-19 and Schumer delaying stimulus expectations by another 4-6 weeks all had their part to play, but the price action was more reminiscent of profit-taking and position squaring ahead of the FOMC and month-end later this week.
Utilities and real estate were the top performers Monday, with energy and materials names on the back foot.