Friday, June 21, 2024

US stocks are off to a mixed start at the end of bumpy week

by Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as losses for health care and materials companies offset gains in technology. The S&P 500 was little changed in the first few minutes of trading Friday. The index is still on track for a small gain for the week following several days of bumpy trading. Solid gains all week for technology companies have the Nasdaq heading for a weekly gain of more than 2%. European markets were broadly lower while Asian markets ended higher. Treasury yields were slightly lower and crude oil prices fell. Deere rose after reporting strong results.

Global shares turned lower on Friday after new economic data showed a slowdown in Europe’s economy and amid worries about a resurgence in coronavirus cases in many countries.

European stocks fell after a survey of businesses found that growth in economic activity eased in August after a jump in July, when businesses were reopening from coronavirus lockdowns.

The so-called PMI survey suggests that a steady rise in new coronavirus cases is undermining growth, and that the outlook for jobs remains dim. It also follows U.S. data on Thursday that showed weekly jobless claims picked up again, suggesting any economic recovery will be gradual.

France’s CAC 40 fell 1.2% to 4,852, while Germany’s DAX also dropped 1.2% to 12,674. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 1% to 5,954. U.S. shares were set to slide on the open with Dow futures down 0.5% and S&P 500 futures 0.6% lower.

Earlier, Asian benchmarks close higher, riding on momentum from Wall Street the previous day, with big technology companies benefiting from people staying home during the pandemic.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% to finish at 22,920.30. South Korea’s Kospi edged up 1.3% to 2,304.59. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.1% to 6,111.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.3% to 25,113.84, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% to 3,380.6.

Reports that Pfizer’s vaccine is on track to seek October regulatory review boosted sentiment temporarily despite uncertainty about global growth, said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said they will take their COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the fewest side effects into final-stage testing. It’s one of a handful of experimental vaccines to reach end-stage tests around the world.

“But this morning brief moment of vaccine excitment was tempered by the fact COVID -19 flashpoints are still happening around the globe, which is the current real-time litmus test, whereas the vaccine is still a bit of pie in the sky at this juncture,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp, said in his report.

Investors are also looking to U.S.-Chinese diplomatic tensions. China’s Commerce Ministry on Thursday said that Chinese and U.S. trade envoys will hold a meeting by phone “in the near future” to discuss an agreement aimed at resolving their tariff war. No details on timing were given. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the talks were part of the process of implementing the U.S.-China trade deal.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 45 cents to $42.37 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 44 cents to $44.46 a barrel.

The dollar slipped to 105.84 Japanese yen from 105.87 yen Thursday. The euro cost $1.1773, down from $1.1842.

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