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S&P 500 rises slightly to all-time high ahead of big earnings, Nasdaq hits new record close

‘Inflation is arguably the biggest topic during this earnings season’

(CNBC) — The S&P 500 traded slightly higher on Monday as investors geared up for one of the busiest weeks of the first-quarter earnings season.

The broad equity benchmark inched 0.2% higher. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 30 points, dragged down by Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Coca Cola. The consumer staples sector was the biggest loser Monday, falling more than 1%.

The decline in consumer companies came amid surging commodity prices, which fueled fears of inflation. Corn futures hit their highest level in more than seven years in volatile trading, while copper climbed to its highest level in nearly a decade. Commodities are a big portion of costs for consumer staples.