Monday, April 15, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street starts holiday-shortened week on a down note

by Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are off to a weak start at the beginning of a holiday-shortened week. The S&P 500 was down 0.3% early Tuesday. The benchmark index is coming off only its second losing week in the last 16. Losses in technology stocks were weighing on the market. That helped pull the Nasdaq composite down 0.8%. The Dow held up better, and was down just 0.1%. That was largely thanks to a big gain in Walmart, which rose 5% after reporting stronger-than-expected results for its latest quarter and issuing sales forecasts that came in ahead of what Wall Street was expecting.

Wall Street trading was closed Monday for President’s Day in the U.S.

Markets are coming off just their second losing week out of the last 16 after hotter-than-expected inflation reports dampened hopes that the Federal Reserve would begin cutting interest rates early this year.

Walmart posted another strong quarter of sales and profit, sending its shares up 2.7% before markets opened. The Arkansas retail giant also announced Tuesday that it was buying smart TV maker Vizio for $2.3 billion.

Hardware and building supply retailer Home Depot slipped about 2% after it gave a lukewarm forecast for the year as high interest rates have cooled the homebuying market. New home owners tend to spend a lot on improvements, but home sales have lagged due to elevated interest rates that can add hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments.

Elsewhere, in Europe at midday France’s CAC 40 added 0.3%, Germany’s DAX dipped 0.1% and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.2%.

China’s central bank kept its 1-year loan prime rate unchanged on Tuesday but cut its 5-year rate by 25 basis points to 3.95%. That came as a surprise, the first time the five-year rate was cut since May 2023.

“The cut to the five-year LPR is likely aimed at supporting the recovery of the property market, and could improve affordability for buyers by lowering the mortgage rates,” said Lynn Song, chief economist at ING.

Benchmarks rose in China, but slipped in Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6% to 16,247.51, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4% to 2,922.73.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to finish at 38,363.61.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped less than 0.1% to 7,659.00. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8% to 2,657.79.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude added gave away 93 cents to $77.53 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, shed 79 cents to $82.77 per barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 150.16 Japanese yen from 150.10 yen. The euro cost $1.0801, up from $1.0783.

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