Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Climbs, Dow Slips After J&J Vaccine Stumble 

U.S. agencies recommended a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine amid rare instances of a blood clotting disorder, rattling the recovery trade Tuesday.

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine sits in a refrigerator.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The "recovery trade" took a breather on Tuesday after a setback on the COVID vaccination front.

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged a pause in injections of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ, -1.3%) single-dose coronavirus vaccine so that the incidence of a blood clotting disorder in six Americans who have received the shot could be studied.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. consumer prices jumped by 2.6% in March, up from 1.7% in February.

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"This morning's U.S. CPI data came in a touch above expectations but were no worse than feared," says Michael Reinking, NYSE senior market strategist. "This, coupled with the potential to push out the vaccination process, has put a bid in Treasury markets."

"That bid strengthened following a strong $24 billion 30-year auction at 1 p.m., with the auction pricing at 2.32% below the 2.338% when issued market. The 10-year yield is down 4.5 (basis points) to 1.63%."

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This easing in yields, combined with virus concerns, helped boost technology and tech-adjacent stocks – Nvidia (NVDA, +3.1%), Apple (AAPL, +2.4%) and Tesla (TSLA, +8.6%) contributed to a 1.1% gain in the Nasdaq Composite, to 13,996 – as well as utility stocks (+1.2%), which led all sectors Tuesday.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to set a new record close at 4,141, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished slightly lower, off 0.2% to 33,677.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 slipped 0.2% to 2,228.
  • U.S. crude oil futures improved by 0.6%, settling at $59.70 per barrel.
  • Gold futures declined 0.9% to $1,747.60 per ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 1.5% to 16.65.
  • Bitcoin prices hit an all-time high of $63,707 ahead of the Coinbase direct listing Wednesday. Bitcoin cooled to $63,023 by the afternoon, but that still represented a 4.9% improvement on Monday's price. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 041321

(Image credit: YCharts)

Attack of the SPACs

One of Tuesday's biggest market headlines centered on a company located 9,000 miles away – but it also continues a growing story here at home.

Grab Holdings, a multinational ride-hailing, food-delivery and payments-solutions technology firm based in Singapore, announced it would go public via a $39.6 billion deal that would see it merge with California-based special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth (AGC, +9.9%) – the largest such "SPAC" deal in history.

That extends what has been an explosive 2021 for SPACs – a method of bringing private companies public without them having to go directly through the initial public offering (IPO) process. After raising $13.6 billion in 2019, SPAC deals generated an incredible $73 billion in 2020 … only to be eclipsed in just the first three months of 2021, when nearly $88 billion was raised.

Investors need to exercise caution, as this newly red-hot corner of the market is garnering increasing scrutiny from regulators. But those looking for a potential growth booster should take a look at our new "SPAC list": a regularly updated list of these acquisition-minded companies that are currently on the hunt for merger targets.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of Young and The Invested, a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of parents and children. He also writes the weekly The Weekend Tea newsletter, which covers both news and analysis about spending, saving, investing, the economy and more.

Kyle was previously the Senior Investing Editor for, and the Managing Editor for before that. His work has appeared in several outlets, including Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Barchart, The Globe & Mail and the Nasdaq. He also has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, among other shows and podcasts, and he has been quoted in several outlets, including MarketWatch, Vice and Univision. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism. 

You can check out his thoughts on the markets (and more) at @KyleWoodley.