Stocks are off to a sluggish start on Wall Street as the market loses more momentum following its rise to records last week. The S&P 500 was wavering between small gains and losses in the early going Tuesday, while gains for several Big Tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq up 0.8%. Johnson & Johnson fell 2.2% after U.S. regulators recommended a pause in using its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of possibly dangerous blood clots. Travel-related stocks including American Airlines and Delta also fell. Crude oil prices were higher and European markets were mixed. Treasury yields fell slightly.
Global shares were mostly higher on Tuesday with hopes growing for a global economic rebound despite surging coronavirus cases in many places.
France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3% in early trading to 6,181.52, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2% to 15,251.55. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1% to 6,885.07. U.S. shares were set for a slow start, with the future for the Dow industrials up 0.1% at 33,656.0. S&P 500 futures also inched up less than 0.1%, to 4,121.38.
China reported its exports rose nearly 31% in March, in line with expectations but weaker than the 60% growth seen in the first two months of the year.
The rising trade activity reflects higher demand in overseas markets even as some countries restore precautions to counter rising numbers of new infections.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.7% to finish at 29,751.61. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1% to 3,169.08. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up less than 0.1% to 6,976.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 28,497.25, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5% to 3,396.47.
Robert Carnell, Regional Head of Research Asia-Pacific at ING, expects trading in the region to be tentative as investors await data that will help assess the recovery from pandemic damage.
Apart from the Chinese trade data, “Asian markets, like others, will be on tenterhooks pending the release of important March U.S. inflation figures later today,” he said in a report.
Earnings season is approaching and corporate results may indicate the direction of future growth as nations gradually emerge from the damage set off by the pandemic.
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo report on Wednesday, while Bank of America and Citigroup report on Thursday.
Worries remain about recent surges in COVID-19 cases, including Brazil and Michigan state in the U.S. Earlier this week, Japan, which trails the world in the vaccine rollout, called for government-backed measures to curb the recent surge in the sickness in some areas.
In Thailand, authorities are warning of a potential explosion in cases after many new infections were found among people who frequent clubs and other entertainment venues.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 15 cents to $59.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 38 cents on Monday to $50.70 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 23 cents to $63.51 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched down to 109.36 Japanese yen from 109.40 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1902 from $1.1911.