Wednesday, April 21

Global stocks edge up as S&P 500 erases early losses; euro firms

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets edged higher on Tuesday as the Dow and S&P 500 indexes erased early lows caused by weak Chinese business surveys and a tumble in shares of Google parent Alphabet, while the euro strengthened on the heels of data that showed euro zone growth topped expectations.

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Shares of Alphabet dropped 7.8%, making it the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes a day after both hit record highs, as the company reported its slowest revenue growth in three years. Fellow heavyweight Apple is scheduled to report results after the market close on Tuesday.

Equity markets started the day on shaky footing after surveys on China’s manufacturing missed forecasts, another sign that Beijing’s efforts to spur growth in the world’s second-biggest economy had yet to take hold.

Major U.S. indexes were able to move off their lows, however, after Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said U.S. President Donald Trump agreed with Democratic leaders to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said talks between the United States and China aimed at resolving their trade dispute will likely be resolved “one way or the other” in the next two weeks.

“Between the news about some sort of theoretical infrastructure bill and continuing trade headlines about a China deal being done whenever the latest timetable is – that was enough to get sellers to step back from the edge a little bit,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

Investors were looking ahead to a policy statement from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday and payrolls data at the end of the week. The Fed is largely expected to leave U.S. interest rates unchanged as it seeks to balance solid economic growth against low inflation.

“People are kind of looking to see what is next before they take a step out in one direction or the other,” said Delwiche.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.11 points, or 0.14%, to 26,592.5, the S&P 500 gained 2.78 points, or 0.09%, to 2,945.81 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 54.09 points, or 0.66%, to 8,107.77.

For the month, the S&P rose 3.9%, the Dow gained 2.6% and the Nasdaq increased 4.9%.

Despite the disappointing Alphabet results, corporate profits for the quarter are now showing growth of 0.7%, according to Refinitiv data, helping ease worries about a possible earnings recession.

After seesawing between gains and losses, European stocks ended flat as bank weakness undercut encouraging euro zone data indicating economic growth in the first quarter was much stronger than expected and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest in more than a decade.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.01% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.13%.

The encouraging regional data helped the euro strengthen above $1.12 for the first time in a week, to a high of $1.1230. The dollar remained subdued against a basket of major currencies even after a round of upbeat data on housing and consumer confidence.

The dollar index fell 0.34%, with the euro up 0.27% to $1.1215.

Brent crude earlier topped $73 but then pulled back as the market grew less worried that a rebellion against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would hit the country’s crude exports.

U.S. crude settled up 0.65% at $63.91 per barrel and Brent was last at $72.80, up 1.05% on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 9/32 in price to yield 2.5054%, from 2.536% late on Monday.

Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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