Investors will be closely watching for details on the infrastructure plan to get a better sense of future priorities, said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategy director at US Bank Wealth Management. Friday’s government jobs report is also highly anticipated.

“The question for the market is, what’s next?” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategy director at US Bank Wealth Management. “March in particular has been a bit of a pause for the market to recalibrate.”

The market’s movements could be volatile through the day as investors close their books on the first quarter of the year. The S&P 500 is on pace for a 6.3 per cent rise for the first three months of 2021, which would be its fourth straight quarter of gains following its lightning-quick plunge in early 2020 amid pandemic panic.

Within the index, the leaderboard of performance is virtually the mirror image of earlier in the pandemic. Energy producers, financial businesses and industrial companies are now leading the way, all climbing between 10 per cent and 30 per cent this quarter.

They’ve shot higher, along with smaller stocks, on expectations that a return to normalcy for the economy and Washington’s huge spending will mean big jumps in profit later this year. It’s a turnaround from earlier in the pandemic, when they plunged on uncertainty about when airplanes may be full again and burning jet fuel.

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Stocks of companies that had been winners in the stay-at-home economy or that had been bid up on expectations for strong growth many years into the future, meanwhile, have lagged. Apple is down 7.3 per cent for the quarter so far, for example, while American Airlines Group is up more than 50 per cent.

Shares of app-based meal delivery service Deliveroo, which saw its business boosted by pandemic lockdowns, tumbled by as much as a third in their UK stock market debut on Wednesday.

In European stock markets, the German DAX was unchanged, while the French CAC 40 fell 0.3 per cent. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.9 per cent.

AP

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