Thursday, July 18, 2024

Stocks open higher on Wall Street after 4 weeks of losses

by Associated Press

Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, recovering after their first four-week losing streak in more than a year. A burst of corporate deals helped give investors confidence to put money back in the market, and the S&P 500 rose 1.4% in the early going Monday. Devon Energy and WPX Energy rose sharply after agreeing to combine, and Cleveland-Cliffs rose after saying it will buy the U.S. business of steelmaking and mining giant ArcelorMittal. Uber jumped after winning an appeal that will allow it to keep operating in London. European markets were broadly higher, and Asian markets rose.

Global shares were mostly higher Monday, ahead of the first U.S. presidential debate and a national holiday in China later in the week.

France’s CAC 40 rose 1.7% in early trading to 4,808.95, while Germany’s DAX jumped 2.4% to 12,767.33. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.4% to 5,922.40. U.S. shares were set for gains, with Dow futures advancing 0.9% to 27,293.5. The S&P 500 future was also up 0.9%, at 3,315.62.

China is celebrating its National Day and Mid-Autumn festival on Oct. 1, followed by a weeklong holiday through Oct. 8.

China’s statistical bureau reported Sunday that industrial profits rose 19% in August from a year earlier, as the economy recovered from the pandemic downturn.

Regional markets are seeing signs of improvement in economic activity despite the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses strive to achieve a new normal with social distancing and mask-wearing.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.3% to finish at 23,511.62, while South Korea’s Kospi added 1.3% to 2,308.08. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost earlier gains to slip 0.2% to 5,952.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.2% to 23,503.66, while the Shanghai Composite index inched less than 0.1% lower to 3,217.53.

Investors are hoping for additional fiscal stimulus measures from the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she hopes to find common ground for agreement with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin after the $2.4 trillion package under discussion failed to bridge the divide.

The chamber passed a $3.4 trillion rescue measure in May. Democrats cut their ambitions back by $1 trillion or so, while Senate Republicans have focused on a much smaller package in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.

Bridging the overall topline gulf would be tough. Working out hundreds of legislative details just before the November election, amid a feud over filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court could be impossible. But there is pressure on both sides to do something to help the economy and the tens of millions of voters left unemployed thanks to the pandemic.

Also on investors’ minds is the first presidential debate, set for Tuesday, between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. It could influence the course of U.S. policies likely to affect share prices across the board.

For the markets, “the challenge is less about who wins and more about how narrow the victory could be, resulting in a contested election and leaving the market in congressional gridlock at a time when government support is critical,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.

Stocks have been erratic this month, with indexes setting new highs to start the month and then falling sharply as investors worried that values for some of technology giants had risen too high.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude slipped 26 cents to $39.99 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 23 cents to $41.69 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 105.36 Japanese yen from 105.57 yen on Friday. The euro inched down to $1.1627 from $1.1632.

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