Wall Street was flat yesterday as investors digested a round of mixed earnings reports a day after a record-breaking session in New York failed to spark a global rally.
A raft of better-than-forecast earnings results for US corporate giants had catapulted New York’s S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq indices to all-time peaks on Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average came close.
However, the surge failed to translate into significant gains in markets around the globe, and some less positive results yesterday led to cautious trading at midday on Wall Street.
Among the disappointments were Caterpillar and Boeing, which said the global grounding of its 737 MAX planes — sparked by two deadly crashes — would cost $1bn.
The US plane maker also reported lower profits, but its share price still rose by 0.7%, likely due to relief that the damage was not worse.
Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare wrote that investors might also be hesitant due to disappointing economic news out of Germany and Australia.
“The bigger takeaway, however, is that sellers are still the reluctant bunch,” he wrote.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said that while Tuesday saw a batch of positive results, “it’s not yet clear whether it’s an outlier or a sign of what’s to come”.
“The boost has only been seen domestically and even here, the feelgood factor has already faded,” Erlam told AFP in London.
“I think we need more evidence that the better results are more widespread before the ripple effect spreads beyond the United States.”
In Europe, London stocks dropped by 0.7% to 7,471.75 points amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, while Paris also sank 0.3% to 5,576.06 points.
However Frankfurt rose 0.6% at 12,313.16 points, aided by soaring first-quarter revenues and profits for German software and cloud computing giant SAP.
The EURO STOXX 50 remained flat at 3,502.63 points.
“Although investors might have hoped that record highs in the US would prompt gains in the rest of the world, the current lack of correlation across global markets means that there is less read-across than usual,” Interactive Investor analyst Rebecca O’Keeffe told AFP.
“Suggestions that leaders within China’s ruling party will focus on economic reforms and will hold back on unnecessary stimulus is dampening market sentiment in Asia.”
On oil markets, both main contracts ticked downwards after hitting six-month highs on the back of news that Washington would end a waiver for several countries from US sanctions on Iran.
Prices had already been surging on hopes for China-US trade talks and for an output cap by Opec and Russia.
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