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business

Stocks decline amid earnings, economic concern


U.S. stocks fell for a second day as rising virus cases around the world led to renewed concern over the continued economic impact, overshadowing a batch of solid corporate results.

The S&P 500 extended its slide from an all-time high, with investors showing caution ahead of the brunt of the earnings season. All eyes will be on whether an anticipated rise in profits will bring with it forecasts for stronger growth ahead. IBM Corp. climbed after reporting its largest revenue growth in 11 quarters, while United Airlines Holdings Inc. paced a sell-off in travel stocks on a bigger-than-expected loss. Netflix Inc. tumbled after the close of regular trading as its new streaming users lagged estimates.

Johnson & Johnson posted stronger-than-expected sales, while Travelers Cos.'s earnings beat estimates and Philip Morris International Inc. raised its outlook. Procter & Gamble Co. is boosting the prices of some consumer products as the household-goods behemoth grapples with higher commodity costs.

While American equities are trading at a valuation that's about 35% above the average of the past decade, investors are focused on what's forecast to be the best earnings season in two years. One of their biggest concerns is whether companies are equipped to handle mounting inflation pressures as the economic recovery gains momentum.

"Earnings season is ramping up, and there's this concern about how the multinationals will give their guidance in view of the fact that we haven't drawn a line under covid yet," said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index. "That is just starting to unnerve investors. Demand for riskier assets has come off."

For David Donabedian, chief investment officer at CIBC Private Wealth Management, the stock market has been just taking a breather after a big rally, but there are still reasons to be bullish.

"The economic recovery has taken hold, the earnings recovery has taken hold, everything we've seen from first-quarter earnings so far has been that it's going to be a blowout quarter," he said.

Elsewhere, the dollar rose for the first time in seven sessions, while the Treasury 10-year yield dropped to the lowest level in more than five weeks.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

- The S&P 500 fell 0.7% as of 4 p.m.EDT

- The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.7%

- The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.8%

- The Russel 2000 Index fell 2%

- The MSCI World index fell 0.9%

Currencies

- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%

- The euro was little changed at 1.2033

- The British pound fell 0.4% to 1.3935

Bonds

- The yield on 10-year Treasurys declined four basis points to 1.562%

- Germany's 10-year yield declined three basis points to -0.262%

- Britain's 10-year yield declined two basis points to 0.731%

Commodities

- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.5% to $62 a barrel

- Gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,778 an ounce

Published : April 21, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Claire Ballentine, Vildana Hajric