Friday, June 18, 2021

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U.S. equities slump ahead of earnings reports


U.S. stocks slid ahead of earnings reports from the biggest tech companies. The dollar weakened.

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The S&P 500 Index edged lower after struggling to gain traction throughout the day, weighed down by worries over new coronavirus variants and hurdles to a fresh aid package. Small-caps were among the worst performers as traders turned away from bets on an end to covid lockdowns. GameStop Corp. extended its astronomical surge as day traders continued to pile into the heavily shorted retailer.

European stock markets closed in the green. Naturgy Energy Group SA soared 15% as asset manager IFM Global Infrastructure offered to buy a stake in the Spanish utility. Sweden's EQT AB, one of Europe's biggest private equity firms, jumped 15% after agreeing to take over Exeter Property Group in a $1.9 billion deal.

Global stocks are mostly treading water near record highs as U.S. corporate earnings season gears up this week, with traders also keeping an eye on developments related to the pandemic and its spread. Vaccine coverage won't reach a point that would stop transmission of the virus in the foreseeable future, the World Health Organization said.

"There's little bit of bumpiness to start the week," said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management. "Part of the cross current we're seeing is concern about the new variants of the virus that seem to be spreading quite a bit. It just raises a question of uncertainty and when we're going to get out from under the cloud of covid."

Elsewhere, Treasury yields held steady. Bitcoin retreated to trade near $32,000. In Asia, stock markets took a dive after China's central bank withdrew cash from the banking system and an official cautioned about asset bubbles. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank the most in two months and internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. lost 6.3%.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

- The S&P 500 Index fell 0.2% as of 4 p.m. EST.

- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.6%.

- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.2%.

- The MSCI Emerging Market Index dipped 1.5%.

Currencies

- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3%.

- The euro rose 0.2% to $1.2166.

- The British pound climbed 0.4% to $1.3737.

- The Japanese yen rose 0.1% to 103.62 per dollar.

Bonds

- The yield on 10-year Treasurys rose one basis point to 1.04%.

- Germany's 10-year yield added two basis points to -0.54%.

- Britain's 10-year yield was little changed at 0.26%.

Commodities

- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.5% to $52.55 per barrel.

- Gold fell 0.2% to $1,852.18 an ounce.

Published : January 27, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Lu Wang, Claire Ballentine