Trade Truce Euphoria Eases, and Markets Tread Water
The United States agreed not to impose additional tariffs on the world’s second-largest economy, and the detente is good news for markets. But tariffs in place have already hurt global economic growth, and investors see that the two side still face the same differences that caused talks to break down earlier.
U.S. stock indexes dipped, and European and Asian markets were mixed. Treasury prices and gold both edged higher, while crude oil gave up its gains from a day earlier. Trading was relatively quiet in the last full day of trading ahead of Wednesday’s half day for U.S. markets and Thursday’s closure for Independence Day.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48 points, or 0.2%, to 26,669, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%.
WHAT’S NEXT: Companies are lining up to tell investors in the next few weeks how much profit they made during the spring. Expectations are generally low, and analysts say second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies may end up being lower than a year earlier.
Besides the earnings reports, the next big milestone for markets may be the Federal Reserve’s meeting at the end of July. There, many investors expect the Fed to cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession in 2008 in the face of slowing economic momentum around the world.
BEEN HERE BEFORE? “Yesterday’s optimism in equity markets is beginning to look a little over-eager, with some already drawing worrying parallels to the November 2018 G-20 summit, which was followed up by a dramatic fall for equities,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
“The past is not prologue, and the central bank outlook is very different to the end of 2018, as easing comes back on to the agenda, but with volumes drying up ahead of Independence Day and the next earnings season rapidly approaching equities are looking vulnerable to some near-term weakness.”
YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.01% from 2.03% late Monday. Yields have been falling since last autumn on worries about a slowing economy and as expectations have climbed for a rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
When bonds are offering lower yields, the regular payments of high-dividend stocks start to look more attractive. Real-estate stocks and utilities were the biggest gainers in the S&P 500, with each sector up at least 0.7%.
DIM SALES: Lighting company Acuity Brands sank 12.5% after it reported weaker revenue for its latest quarter than Wall Street expected. The company said it’s facing a challenging market environment and cited “ongoing angst generated by trade policy issues.”