Stocks off to a mixed start despite gains in tech sector

Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as gains for technology companies are checked by losses in banks, industrial companies and other sectors. The S&P 500 was little changed in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up less than 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flitting between small gains and losses, and the Russell 2000, which tracks smaller companies, was down 0.2%. Zoom Video Communications was up 0.5% after reporting another strong quarter of results. European indexes were modestly higher and Asian markets closed mostly lower. Treasury yields slipped.

Global shares were mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street reopened from the Memorial Day holiday on a lackluster note.

France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.1% to 6,496.01, while Germany’s DAX added nearly 0.2% to 15,592.32. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7,101.57. U.S. shares were set to be mixed with Dow futures inching up less than 0.1% to 34,561.0. S&P 500 futures slipped nearly 0.1% to 4,195.62.

Market players are looking ahead to U.S. jobs data, which are also likely to show growth. They’re also keeping an eye on comments by Federal Reserve officials on inflation, a concern overhanging markets as economies regain momentum with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, especially in the United States.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.5% to finish at 28,946.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.1% to 7,217.80. South Korea’s Kospi rose nearly 0.1% to 3,224.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.6% to 29,297.62, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.8% to 3,597.14.

India’s Sensex declined 0.7%. Shares rose in Jakarta, were little changed in Taiwan, but fell in Singapore.

Economies are bouncing back rapidly from the damage and disruptions caused by the pandemic, analysts say.

“The speed of recovery bears little resemblance to those from past downturns, which should give some hope that less economic scarring will result,” RaboResearch said in a market commentary.

Progress lags in Japan and much of Asia, where vaccination programs have lagged, though they are beginning to pick up speed, opening up inoculations at mass sites to the general population, not just the elderly and health workers.

Expectations that the upcoming Labor Department report due out Friday will show a strong increase in hiring in May have added to worries about inflation and how the Federal Reserve may respond to it. The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 41 cents to $68.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.40 to $67.72 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 52 cents to $70.77 a barrel.

Oil prices have surged to two-year highs as demand has surged with a resumption of travel, especially in the U.S.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 109.78 Japanese yen from 109.49 yen. The euro cost $1.2191, down from $1.2214.