Stocks Tick Lower After S&P 500 Closes at Record High

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The S&P 500 rose toward another record Friday as major indexes stayed on pace to end the week with muted gains.

The broad stock index added 0.2%, after notching its ninth record close of 2021 on Thursday.The Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.1%, putting the technology-heavy gauge on track for its own record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, hovered around the flatline and was recently down less than 0.1%. All three indexes are on track for weekly gains of about 1%.

Stocks have hovered in record territory this week, buoyed by movement toward a fresh round of stimulus spending, strong corporate earnings and progress in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. In one new development, President Biden said the U.S. has struck deals to buy another 200 million vaccine doses.

But after a march higher to start the year, some investors caution that stocks are looking pricey, potentially muting future returns even if the economy continues to strengthen. The S&P 500 traded Thursday at 22.42 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, above a five-year average of 17.95.

“We are at some reasonably stretched valuations at this point in time,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer for private wealth at Glenmede. “I think if we didn’t have those sort of valuations, the market probably would be up more on these sort of news items.”