Thursday, April 18, 2024

Stocks hit pause a day after their biggest rally in 9 months

by Associated Press

Investors hit the pause button a day after the biggest market rally in nine months, leaving major indexes little changed in the first few minutes of trading. The S&P 500 slipped a bit less than 0.1% in the early going Tuesday. Bond yields continued to edge lower, easing a source of worry for investors following a sharp spike in long-term interest rates over the past few weeks. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note eased down to 1.43%. Zoom Video Communications jumped almost 5% after the video conferencing service reported another blowout quarter of growth.

Global stock markets and Wall Street futures declined Tuesday after a selloff in U.S. Treasury debt eased, helping to allay concern about a possible rise in interest rates.

Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong closed lower and Frankfurt retreated in early trading. London opened higher.

Overnight, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index climbed 2.4%, recovering most of its losses from the past week.

That came after a Treasury selloff abated after pushing yields to their highest level in a year. That helped to dampen concerns about a possible rise in interest rates and downward pressure on the U.S. economic recovery.

Investors “appear to be taking a breather” after Monday’s recovery, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

Also Tuesday, Australia’s central bank left its policy unchanged at its March meeting.

Meanwhile, Japan reported employment rose despite a state of emergency to cope with renewed coronavirus outbreaks and South Korea reported higher factory output.

In early trading, the DAX in Frankfurt lost 0.1% to 14,005.48. The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.2% to 6,599.62 and the CAC 40 in Paris added less than 0.1% to 5,795.71.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.5%.

On Monday, the Dow gained 2% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 3%.

In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.2% to 3,508.50 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo declined 0.9% to 29,408.17. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 1.2% to 29,095.86.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1% to 3,043.87 after the government reported factory production increased by a better-than-forecast 7.5% in January over a year earlier, up from December’s 2.5%.

The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was off 0.4% at 6,762.30. India’s Sensex rose 0.4% to 50,059.80. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, or the difference between its market price and the payout at maturity, fell to 1.43%.

On Tuesday, it declined further to 1.41%.

Stocks turned lower in late February after a rapid rise in bond yields, caused by a fall in their market price, fueled inflation concerns. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed as high as 1.5%.

Bond yields influence rates on mortgages and other borrowing.

They have climbed as investors bet coronavirus vaccination efforts would get economic growth back on track. That fueled concerns about inflation, which would erode the value of bond payouts.

Investors are looking for more information about the U.S. economic outlook when Federal Reserve officials deliver speeches this week. Lael Brainard, an advocate for looser monetary policies, will give a monetary policy speech Tuesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks Thursday.

They also are watching Washington after the House of Representatives approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion aid package and sent it to the Senate. It includes one-time payments to the public and aid to struggling businesses and local governments.

Johnson & Johnson rose 0.5% after the Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s coronavirus vaccine. It doesn’t require extremely cold refrigeration like the ones made by Moderna and Pfizer.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 58 to $60.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 86 cents to $60.64 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, retreated 68 cents to $63.01 per barrel in London. It declined 73 cents the previous session to $63.69 per barrel.

The dollar advanced to 106.85 yen from Monday’s 106.81 yen. The euro fell to $1.2013 from $1.2047.

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