Stocks slipped Tuesday as investors looked ahead to earnings from tech giants and markets continued to weigh the impacts of Covid-19 lockdowns in China.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 100 points, or 0.3%, after the index ended 238 points higher on Monday to close at 34,049. S&P 500 futures signaled a start 0.2% into the red with the Nasdaq Composite poised to drop 0.2%.
Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.7% as indexes in the region played catch-up to Wall Street’s late-Monday rally. The Shanghai Composite fell 1.4%, underperforming other bourses in Asia, as the severity of Covid-19 lockdowns in China continued to pressure investor sentiment.
The prospect of disruptive Covid-19 lockdowns being imposed in Beijing—having been in place in Shanghai since March—added significant pressure to stocks on Monday amid fears of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. A downturn in China could cause global ripple effects as markets are already preparing for a hit to economic demand from interest-rate increases to tame historically high inflation.
“The market felt tired and worn down by the building risks yesterday and by the time Europe closed things were looking pretty bleak,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, noting that a late rally led by tech stocks after Tesla (ticker: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter (TWTR) helped turn the S&P 500 from 1.7% lower to 0.6% higher.
“It was hard to find a narrative for the strong rebound,” Reid added. “Tech stocks will stay front-and-center though as earnings progress this week, with Microsoft and Alphabet both set to report after the close tonight.”
Corporate earnings remain in focus, with 179 of the 500 constituents of the S&P 500 reporting results this week. The day ahead will see reports from Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), Raytheon Technologies (RTX), and General Motors (GM), among others. Investors are focused on how well companies are weathering, among other things, a complex macroeconomic environment amid pressure from inflation.
“With so much going on, this promises to be another eventful and potentially volatile week for financial markets,” said Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at broker FXTM. “Caution is likely to remain the name of the game this week with sentiment fragile as strict lockdowns in China, concerns around a global slowdown, Fed rate-hike fears and geopolitical risks leave investors on edge.”
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