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Tech stocks push S&P 500 to record close

A record closing high for the S&P 500 despite a setback for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a temporary halt in the use of the J&J vaccine after six women came down with blood clots and one died - after getting the dose. The reaction is very rare. So far the J&J vaccine has been given to some 7 million Americans. J&J said it was working closely with regulators. The stock lost one percent.

Overall- it was a mixed session- the Dow dropped 68 points. The S&P 500 gained 13 and the Nasdaq rallied 146 points.

Randy Watts is the chief investment officer at O'Neil Global Advisors.

"I think what's going on is there's a little bit of a slowdown in that reopening trade because of the delay with Johnson and Johnson, people worried it's going to take longer to get everyone vaccinated than they thought. Plus, the S&P is up about 10 percent year to date. The Nasdaq's only up about eight percent. The S&P is at all time highs. The Nasdaq still trading below that high. I think there's a little bit of a catch up trade here with Nasdaq and some of these big cap growth stocks, especially in the tech area."

Apple was one of those big cap tech names to the upside. It sent out a cryptic invitation for a special event to be live-streamed next week. Many are expecting the tech giant to launch new iPad Pro models. Shares of Apple rallied more than two percent.

On the other hand so-called reopening stocks like airlines had a tough day and not just on the J&J news. American Airlines said it expects first-quarter revenues to plunge about 62%. The stock was down 1-1/2 percent for the day.

In economic news: consumer prices surged by the most in 8-1/2 years. Prices rose in March as a result of higher demand, supply constraints, and rising commodity prices.