U.S. stocks remain near record high amid social media frenzy

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Merck Co. rises as government looks into buying COVID treatment?

Dow down 0.15%, S&P up 0.09%, Nasdaq down 0.29%

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 remained near a record high as the institutional investors looked at new inflation data for clues as to when the U.S. Federal Reserve might tighten its dovish monetary policy.

The gains of all three major U.S. stocks indexes were muted as they traded in a clear range in the absence of any tight market catalysts.

We're past the first quarter, people are looking forward to the second quarter, there's not much news about the company, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. We're likely in a range-bound period.

The churn of favored meme stocks or heavily shorted stocks involved in a social media-driven retail frenzy, continued its rotation, with Aethlon Medical soaring by 429.9%.

GEO Group is also benefiting from reddit chatter, prison operators Reddit and World Wrestling Entertainment jumping by 50.9% and 10.4%, respectively.

Among other stocks dealing with social media-driven tight squeeze, Clover Health, AMC Entertainment and Bed Bath Beyond reversed course to trade lower.

According to Vanda Research, the retailer volume has returned to its January peak as social media forums scramble to identify the next GameStop Corp, the stock that kicked off the phenomenon.

On a fundamental level, some of the retail investors who are getting hurt here will eventually get pulled as the prices correct, added Ghriskey.

GameStop is expected to post quarterly results after the bell out of three.

After breaking down one-on-one talks with Senator Joe Biden, US President Shelley Capito changed course in state negotiations to reach a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure spending.

The industrial stocks that could benefit from an infrastructure deal fell 0.9% and helped lower the blue stock Dow slightly.

Washington lawmakers passed sweeping bill designed to boost the United States' ability to compete with Chinese technology, providing funds for research and semiconductor production amid an ongoing chips demand drought. The bill is now heading to the House of Representatives.

Even so, the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index was relatively unchanged.

Tomorrow's Consumer Price Index report from the Labor Department will provide another take on the current spike in prices amid the recovery of demand supply imbalance as investors determine whether inflationary pressures, as the Fed asserts, will be transitory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 53.84 points, or 0.25%, to 34,547. 98 the S&P 500 gained 4.97 points, or 0.09%, to 4,231. 23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 40.88 points, or 0.16%, to 13,965. 79

Healthcare was the most important of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500.

Benchmark Treasury yields dropped below 1.5% for the first time since May, weighing on interest-sensitive financials.

Campbell Soup Co slashed quarterly profit expectations and missed its full-year earnings forecast, sending its shares down 5.4%.

Pfizer Inc. gained 2.4% after the administration reaffirmed plans to issue 500 COVID 19 doses to about 100 countries over the next two years, according to a Washington Post report.

Drugmaker Merck Co gained 2.1% on the heels of its announcement that the U.S. government, for about $1.2 billion, agreed to buy about 1.7 million courses of the company's experimental COVID 19 drug Molnupiravir, if the drug meets regulatory approval.

On the Nasdaq, advancing issues defeated declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.18 - to 1 ratio, and on the Nasdaq, a 1.16 - to 1 ratio favoured advancers.

The Nasdaq Composite from 2014 recorded 35 new 52 week highs and two new lows; the S&P 500 recorded 118 new highs and 11 new lows. What Is life without it?

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