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  HOME | Business & Economy (Click here for more)

US Stocks Set to Rise as European Rally Continues

NEW YORK – Stocks in the United States were set to follow European indexes higher on Tuesday, as strong earnings from energy companies outweighed weaker tech-sector results.

Futures put the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 on course to rise 0.2 percent at the open, extending the early-week gains that took both indexes to their highest levels since early December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to increase 0.3 percent.

Boeing and Caterpillar shares were among the Dow’s sharpest gainers, up 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent in pre-market trade.

Technology stocks were broadly lower, however, with Alphabet’s class A shares down 2.5 percent before the market open, after the Google-parent reported rising costs outside its core online-advertising business as it attempts to diversify.

European tech companies were also under pressure, with Austrian semiconductor company AMS slumping 12.8 percent as the Apple-supplier suspended its cash dividend policy and said it expected weak smartphone demand to drag on future revenues.

That said, Wirecard climbed 6.7 percent after the internet company said an independent investigation failed to find any evidence of accounting misconduct.

The broader Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.9 percent in midday trading, hitting a fresh nine-week high and on course for its sixth consecutive day of gains.

The Stoxx 600’s oil-and-gas sector was up 1.9 percent, with BP shares jumping 5.3 percent after it reported better-than-expected results. Basic resources stocks also outperformed the broader index.

Gains for European miners echoed similar moves in Asia-Pacific, where Australia’s commodities-heavy ASX 200 climbed 2 percent, driven in part by its basic materials sector.

Banking stocks notched the index’s sharpest gains following the completion of a yearlong inquiry into financial-sector misconduct.

Japan’s Nikkei index slipped 0.2 percent. Most other Asian markets stayed shut for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Investors took Alphabet’s earnings release as a rare negative note in a quarterly earnings season seen as generally positive.

Rallies for major global stock indexes in January came after sell-offs at the end of 2018, putting the current reporting season in contrast to 2018’s third-quarter earnings season, economists said.

“Those who missed their estimates or gave negative guidance were severely punished, but this time around the misses – while still negative – are not as deeply negative and the beats are performing better,” said Larry Hatheway, chief economist and head of investment solutions at GAM Holding.

“Equities markets had fallen and perhaps this asymmetry was to be expected. Maybe it’s harder to shellac those who come in short,” Hatheway added.

Still, many investors remained concerned about the strength of the global economy and US monetary policy.

Market volatility has calmed in recent weeks after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at the conclusion of the central bank’s January meeting that economic data would continue to strongly inform future policy decisions, signaling future rate increases could be put on hold.

“Earnings reports haven’t been that strong, and it’s obvious that it’s the support of the Fed that’s driving stocks forward,” said Shannon Saccocia, chief investment officer at wealth management company Boston Private. “As we go through to the end of this earnings cycle, we’re looking to see if we experience a resurgence of concerns: We don’t yet have a deal with China and there’s some evidence of a slowing global economy.”

In contrast to data out of China and Europe, US economic figures have remained robust, with non-farm payroll numbers released on Friday heavily outperforming market expectations.

The eurozone’s composite purchasing managers index figures notched a decline on Tuesday, though slightly outperformed forecasts. French and Italian services PMIs were slightly better than expected. The euro slipped 0.2 percent versus the US dollar.

The WSJ Dollar Index was last up 0.1 percent, having pared some of the losses that came last week after the Fed left interest rates unchanged.

Investors were awaiting ISM non-manufacturing purchasing managers index figures later Tuesday for a fresh signal on the health of US growth, as well as President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

 

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