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Stocks mixed, Treasury yields fall after Mueller report results

U.S. stocks ended Monday’s session mixed as investors continued to digest global growth concerns and the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report, which found no proof of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential elections.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) edged down 0.08%, or 2.35 points, as of market close, with the materials sector leading declines. The Dow (^DJI) rose 0.06%, or 14.51 points, while the Nasdaq (^IXIC) slipped 0.07%, or 5.13 points.

Over the weekend, Attorney General William Barr released a synopsis of the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – a probe that President Donald Trump has continuously characterized as a “witch hunt.”

“The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump Campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian Government,” Barr said in the statement.

Some analysts said that Trump’s clearance would help drive a risk-on response from markets.

“If the Mueller report exonerates Trump of any criminal wrongdoing, then markets should rally as the cloud of serious impeachment will be removed and Trump and his policies are likely assured for the next two years which makes it easier to plan investment decisions,” Neil Dutta, head of economics at Renaissance Macro Research, wrote in a note ahead of the release of the report.

“Removing the impeachment cloud would also boost Trump’s efforts to negotiate trade deal as world leaders would recognize Trump’s position is secure for the next two years,” Dutta added. “Trump could start implementing measures to boost the economy this summer to support his 2020 reelection efforts.”

Stock futures were down for much of the overnight session following the report, which did not completely exonerate Trump.

Trump wrote in a Twitter post Sunday that the report pointed to “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.” However, the outcome of Mueller’s investigation did not leave Trump completely in the clear, according to Barr’s description.

“The Special Counsel states that, ‘while this report does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr wrote.

President Donald Trump is televised discussing the southern border wall as traders work on the floor at closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on January 10, 2019 in New York. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Other pundits said the ongoing Mueller investigation has largely been a non-event to equity markets. Stocks had already been trending lower late last week amid disappointing economic data and mounting global growth concerns.

“The publication of notes on the Mueller investigation into U.S. President Trump's Russian relations is not likely to be a major market event (the investigation itself was not a major market event),” Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note Monday. “The failure to exonerate the president over obstruction of justice might lead to more investigations, tying up White House time; the policy impact from that is likely to be limited.”

Many investors have already turned their attention from the Mueller report. Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said his focus this week will instead be on Treasury auctions following an inversion of the 10-year and 3-year Treasury yields on Friday. Yield curve inversions are widely viewed as a recessionary harbinger.

“I've never once mentioned the name Robert Mueller and his investigation in reference to influencing market movements, sentiment, economic data and earnings because there was none and I won't start now because its resolution won't matter either,” Boockvar wrote in an email Monday.

Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, were mostly down across the curve on Monday. The yield on the 10-year note was down 5.8 basis points to 2.397% as of 2:39 p.m. ET, marking the first time the benchmark yield fell below 2.4% since late 2017. This was below the 3-month bill’s 2.454% yield.

STOCKS: Apple’s special event

Apple (AAPL, -1.21%) held a special event unveiling a suite of new service offerings on Monday in Cupertino, California. The tech giant released a $9.99 per month news and magazine subscription service called Apple News+, which includes content from publications including the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, along with more than 300 magazines. Apple also said it will release its own credit card called Apple Card, operated on the Mastercard network in tandem with Goldman Sachs. The company additionally released a new video game platform called Apple Arcade, which offers more than 100 exclusive games.

And as had been highly anticipated, Apple unveiled a pair of related television services called Apple TV Channels – which will host existing channels including HBO, Showtime and Starz – and Apple TV+, which will house Apple’s original content.

Shares of Apple trended lower during the presentation and were off as much as 2.32% during Monday’s session. Shares of Netflix (NFLX) – a competitor to Apple’s new video subscription service – were up about 1.5%. Roku (ROKU) shares were up more than 4.5%, as Apple’s new television app will be available on the company’s media player.

Biogen’s (BIIB, +2.12%) board of directors authorized a plan to repurchase up to $5 billion shares, according to a filing Sunday. This comes after the biotechnology company’s shares tanked last week following an announcement that was ending a trial for an Alzheimer therapy analysts predicted would be a blockbuster. The stock was down 33% between last Tuesday and market close Friday.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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