Saturday, May 25, 2024

Stocks open higher ahead of a busy week of company earnings

by Associated Press

Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street at the beginning of another heavy week for earnings reports from big U.S. companies. The S&P 500 added 0.2% in early trading Monday. The benchmark index is coming off its first weekly loss in the last five. The Nasdaq composite and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had similar gains in the early going. Microsoft, Apple, Boeing and McDonald’s are among the bellwether companies that will be reporting their latest quarterly results this week. European markets were higher, Asian markets closed mixed and Treasury yields rose. Crude oil prices fell.

World shares were mixed Monday as worries over the pandemic clouded the outlook for a recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Tokyo and Paris advanced, while Frankfurt and London were almost unchanged. Benchmarks fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai and U.S. futures were mixed.

Government precautions to battle surging outbreaks point to an uneven global recovery, economists say. That’s especially true for tourism, an important industry for many parts of the region.

But investors have generally taken in stride recent setbacks as COVID-19 infections have come roaring back in Japan, Thailand and India, among other countries.

“One thing is for sure, markets have priced in the pandemic as a sprint and not a marathon. That premise could come under stress in the weeks to come, although I sorely hope I am completely wrong on this front,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

“Pandemic nerves are likely to be drowned out this week as it progresses as the pace of the data calendar picks up,” he said.

Germany’s DAX edged less than 0.1% lower to 15,272.86 and the CAC 40 in Paris inched 0.1% higher to 6,261.50. The FTSE 100 in London was nearly unchanged at 6,938.5. The future for the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% while the contract for the Dow industrials was nearly unchanged.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4% to 29,126.23 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.4% to 28,952.83. In Seoul, the Kospi jumped 1% to 3,217.53. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1% to 3,441.17 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2% to 7,045.60.

India’s Sensex climbed 0.9% to 48,318.57, even as authorities reported newly confirmed coronavirus cases hit a daily high on Sunday, topping 352,000.

On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 1.1% to 4,180.17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% to 34,043.49. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.4% to 14,016.81, while the Russell 2000 index of small caps rose 1.8% to 2,271.86.

Wall Street has been in rally mode in recent weeks as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, the massive support from the U.S. government and Federal Reserve, and a string of encouraging economic data fuel expectations for a stronger economy and solid corporate profit growth this year.

Banks made solid gains as bond yields ticked higher. That allows them to charge more lucrative interest on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.58% from 1.56% late Friday.

About a quarter of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results so far this earnings season. Of these, 84% have delivered earnings that topped Wall Street’s estimates, according to FactSet.

But while corporate earnings have been mostly positive, investors are weighing stronger economic growth against threats from the pandemic and worries about potential changes in U.S. tax policy to help pay for support for the recovery and for massive infrastructure spending.

This week is another busy one for earnings, with 181 S&P 500 companies, including Tesla, Starbucks, Microsoft and, set to report results.

Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin jumped 5.1% to $52,644.71. It dropped about 2% to $50,675 Friday, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency had traded for as much as $63,000 as recently as last week.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost $1.14 to $61.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 71 cents to $62.14 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped $1.82 to $64.29 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 107.70 Japanese yen from 107.93 yen. The euro rose to $1.2102 from $1.2094.

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