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Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 23:14
Wall Street heads for subdued start as Netflix, oil drop
By Reuters
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 23:14 By Reuters

LONDON - Wall Street was headed for a subdued start on Wednesday as a pre-market slump in Netflix dampened sentiment towards the tech sector while rising COVID infections in Asia sent crude oil lower.

US stock futures were mixed, with S&P500 E-minis and Dow E-minis little changed, while tech-laden Nasdaq futures eased 0.2 percent.

Wall Street fell sharply on Tuesday as a global spike in COVID-19 cases hit travel stocks.

“It’s a pause for thought, in part triggered by some renewed concerns over the global picture related to COVID,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.

“We have had a good run up, the markets are increasingly confident about the vigorous rebound in growth,” Halpenny said.

“Anything related to travel and tourism, those stocks got hit yesterday as investors are looking to start reappraising the timelines in terms of recovering from COVID.”

Some tech shares and companies that benefited from stay-at-home demand could face further pressure on Wednesday after Netflix Inc reported disappointing subscriber growth for its movie streaming service, which sent its shares down 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Investors are closely watching an auction of 20-year US Treasuries later on Wednesday, which will be an important gauge of global demand for fixed income. Ahead of the auction results, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes traded at 1.5714 percent.

Recent optimism about rising vaccination rates in the United States, Britain and the European Union is shifting to concern that record coronavirus infections in India and a reinforcement of travel restrictions will act as a brake on the world economy.

“We have seen seven weeks or so of gains predicated on the recovery trade,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

“It was priced to perfection and with events in Japan and India ahead of earnings, maybe there were going to be a few potholes along the way, a little bit of risk correction,” Hewson said.

Crude futures extended declines from a one-month high on speculation that coronavirus restrictions in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, will hurt energy demand.

US crude dropped 1.5 percent to US$61.73 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 1.3 percent to US$65.71 per barrel.

Big Tech earnings

Analysts said they were looking for steers from the European Central Bank on Thursday, followed by the Federal Reserve and Big Tech earnings on Wall Street next week.

The STOXX index of 600 European shares was up 0.4 percent at 435.92 points. Analysts said a 1.9 percent fall on Tuesday, its worst session this year, was overdone and the benchmark remains near its record high of 443.61 points hit on Monday.

MSCI’s index of global shares fell 0.3 percent. It too had reached record highs on Monday.

Stocks in Tokyo slumped by 2 percent due to the growing likelihood that Tokyo, Osaka and surrounding areas will be put under lockdown due to a new wave of coronavirus infections.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.1 percent. Australian stocks dropped 0.3 percent but shares in China recouped early losses and rose 0.3 percent due to positive earnings from the healthcare and banking sectors.

The dollar traded 0.15 percent higher against a basket of six major currencies at 91.354.

Spot gold traded at US$1,782.59 per ounce, up 0.3 percent.


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