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US inventory futures open flat after Monday's tech rally

Traders work during the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020.

Johannes Eisele | AFP via Getty Images

US stock futures traded along the flatline on Monday evening after key averages posted strong gains to start the new month earlier in the day.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 14 points or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also traded slightly lower.

The Dow closed the session on Monday with an increase of more than 200 points or 0.9%. The S&P 500 reached its highest level on February 21 and the Nasdaq closed at a record high. The S&P 500 also ended the session less than 3% below the intraday record set on February 19.

These gains were achieved after Microsoft and Apple brought the S&P 500 technology sector to an all-time high and rose 5.6% and 2.5%, respectively. Tech was by far the best performing sector this year, growing more than 23% over that period.

"Tech stocks have garnered considerable attention because of their gaudy, relative return, but less is valued for how consistent they were," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, in a message to customers. Paulsen pointed out that the S & P 500 outperformed the broader market in 57% of 2020.

"What valuation is justified for a sector whose business is growing faster for reasons that are less dependent on macroeconomic conditions and whose members achieve remarkable excess returns with superior frequency compared to any other sector on the stock exchange?"

The mood on Wall Street was also strengthened after Eli Lilly started a late study on the treatment of coronavirus antibodies. The study examines whether LY-CoV555 can prevent the virus from spreading between nursing home residents and staff.

Of course, investors continue to monitor negotiations on a new stimulus package as legislators struggle to make progress. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said she, Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Minority, and Mark Meadows, chief of staff of the White House, had "productive" discussions on Monday, but there are still some unanswered questions.

"We're moving down the track," said Pelosi, "but we still have our differences."

Both sides have said they agree on another $ 1,200 stimulus check, but remain stuck on additional unemployment benefits.

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