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S&P 500, Dow Industrials Wobble

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U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, weighed down by weakness in the shares of technology and social-media giants.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1% in midday trading, after wavering between small gains and losses in the morning. The S&P 500 declined 0.4%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite was down 0.3%.

All three indexes closed at record highs on Friday but have retreated since the start of this week.

Investors broadly expect stocks to rally this year as the rollout of vaccines and fresh government spending help the economy recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic. Still, some are bracing for volatility in the coming months amid risks stemming from high valuations in parts of the stock market, still-elevated coronavirus case rates and political uncertainty following last week’s attack on the Capitol.

In the coming days, money managers will parse quarterly results as earnings season gets under way among U.S. companies. Home builder KB Home is due to report after markets close. Other companies set to report results later this week include Delta Air Lines and JPMorgan Chase.

“There is an expectation for an earnings recovery compared with last year, which is quite important,” said

Maria Municchi,
multiasset portfolio manager at M&G Investments. “The stimulus we have seen is certainly supportive to some of this earnings growth.”

In Washington, Congress careened toward a fresh showdown with President Trump. House Democrats said they plan to vote on impeaching him Wednesday over accusations he incited supporters to storm the Capitol.

The clash could lead to some swings in stock prices in the short term but ultimately has limited implications for investors, according to Ms. Municchi. “Compared to the pandemic situation and the need for resolution, this is almost a side show,” she said.

Some big technology and communications stocks continued to decline after sharp drops on Monday.
Facebook
shares fell 2.2%, while
Twitter
slid 2.5%. The social-media giants have taken increasingly tougher actions to block Mr. Trump’s accounts and stem misinformation and incitements to violence ahead of President-elect
Joe Biden’s

inauguration.

Meanwhile Google shares declined 2.2%, while Apple was down 1.2%. Both tech giants recently removed Parler, a social-media service popular among conservatives, from their app marketplaces amid concerns that it was being used to promote violence.

Such actions have raised jitters that Big Tech could face new regulation, particularly with Democrats set to take a narrow majority in the Senate, said

Olivier Sarfati,
head of equities at GenTrust. “They are a lot more at risk after the Capitol Hill riot than prior,” he said.

Six of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors were down on Tuesday, including technology and communications. Energy and financials were among the sectors in positive territory.

In other corporate news, Tesla shares jumped 5.5% after local media reports said the electric-car maker is in talks to join with
Tata Motors
to build out its business in India.

Albertsons shares rose 1% after the grocery chain reported sales that beat estimates.

Expectations of higher government spending and more bond sales continued to drive a selloff in U.S. government bonds, pushing the yield on 10-year Treasury notes up to 1.172%, from 1.131% Monday. The move put yields on course to rise for a seventh consecutive trading session. Yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices.

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The Treasury Department is due to auction $38 billion in 10-year notes Tuesday and $24 billion in 30-year bonds Wednesday, seen as tests of market sentiment. On Monday, it sold a record $58 billion in three-year notes.

The advance in bond yields threatens to knock down shares of tech giants and other stocks that have benefited from a long period of low interest rates, investors said. The rising yields may also prompt the Federal Reserve to take action to prevent further gains, they said.

“If you were to get an uncontrolled selloff on the bond market, that would have a very negative impact for the rest of the economy and for the equity market,” said

Gerard Fitzpatrick,
global head of fixed income at Russell Investments. Mr. Fitzpatrick added that he thinks that is unlikely, though.

Investors are betting that the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will help bolster the pace of economic recovery.

Investors are betting that the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will help bolster the pace of economic recovery.

Photo: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Oil extended its recent rally, which has been driven by a global recovery in fuel demand and continuing production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Futures on Brent crude, the benchmark in international energy markets, rose 1.5% to $56.50 a barrel.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 index ticked up less than 0.1%. Most major Asian equity benchmarks ended the day higher. The Shanghai Composite gained 2.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.3%.

Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com and Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com