Stocks are off to a mixed start, bank losses weigh on market

Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as losses for banks are offset by gains in several Big Tech companies including Facebook. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading Monday while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq wavered between gains and losses. U.S.-listed shares Credit Suisse of Switzerland plunged after the bank warned that it could face big losses related to a default by a U.S.-based hedge fund. Nomura of Japan also fell sharply after making a similar warning. Treasury yields held steady.

Global stock markets were mixed Monday amid optimism about government stimulus and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

London opened lower, while Shanghai and Tokyo advanced.

U.S. futures were lower following sales of large blocks of stock that news reports said were carried by Archegos Capital Management, run by financier Bill Hwang.

Wall Street’s advance Friday was led by stocks that would benefit if vaccinations and government spending boost the U.S. economy as much as expected.

Vaccines and stimulus have “helped to create an aura of high optimism,” John Bilton of JP Morgan Asset Management said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.4% to 6,715.67 while Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.1% to 14,771.11. The CAC 40 in Paris was up less than 0.1% at 5,989.17.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was down 0.9% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Averages lost 0.5%..

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5% to 3,435.30.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.7% to 29,384.52. Brokerage Nomura Holdings fell 16.3% after it warned of a “significant loss” due to a transaction Friday involving an unnamed “U.S. client.”

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up less than 0.1% at 28,338.30 after swinging between gains and losses. Baidu fell 4.1% and Tencent was down 1.9%.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.2% to 3,036.04 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.4% to 6,799.50.

New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok advanced while Jakarta retreated. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.

On Friday, the S&P rose 1.7% while the Dow rose 1.4%. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.2%, though it is is 6.8% below last month’s record high.

Shares of media giants ViacomCBS Inc. and Discovery Inc., Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc. and Tencent Music Entertainment Group fell.

Markets have been swinging between optimism that vaccines might allow business and travel to return to normal and anxiety over distribution delays and concern about possible inflation after massive government stimulus.

Investors were jolted last week by news Egypt’s Suez Canal, one of the busiest trade routes, was blocked by a cargo ship that became wedged into the waterway.

But U.S. stocks have benefited from President Joe Biden’s proposal for higher spending on infrastructure. Steelmaker Nucor climbed 8.9% and miner Freeport-McMoRan rose 5.9%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 66 cents to $60.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.41 to $60.97 on Friday. Brent crude, the basis for international oil prices, retreated 41 cents to $64.02 per barrel in London. It advanced $2.62 the previous session to $64.57.

The dollar declined to 109.64 yen from Friday’s 109.69 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1775 from the previous session’s $1.1790.