NEW YORK (AP) — Premarket trading on Wall Street was relatively quiet ahead of the open on Tuesday, while European benchmarks were losing ground and most Asian shares finished higher.
Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average teetered between gains and losses, with each up around 0.1%.
London, Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo and Sydney rose. Oil prices retreated.
Rising prices for energy and food are adding to concerns over how the Federal Reserve and other central banks will bring inflation under control without hindering a revival of business activity following the doldrums brought on by efforts to vanquish coronavirus outbreaks.
The conflict in Ukraine, which has added to those price pressures, showed no signs of easing as Russia launched a long-feared, broad ground offensive, seeking to take control of Ukraine’s east.
“One of the biggest problems is that finding a dissenting voice on the global procession to recession is getting increasingly rare. The negativity about the economy is pervasive, and that alone can keep stock pickers sidelined,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.
As markets reopened from Easter holidays, the CAC 40 in Paris shed 1.2% and Germany’s DAX slipped 0.8%. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4%.
In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led the declines, falling 2.3% to 21,027.76. Worries over Chinese property developers and regulatory crackdowns on technology companies were weighing on sentiment.
The People’s Bank of China conducted a 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) reverse repo operation to help add liquidity to the banking system, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. In a reverse repo, the central bank buys securities from commercial banks with an agreement to sell them back in the future.
Meanwhile, the central bank, through a banking industry association, encouraged smaller lenders to reduce the interest they offer on deposits to alleviate pressure on their finances, the financial magazine Caixin reported.
On Friday, the PBOC reduced the amount of reserves banks have to keep, to free up more money for lending.
China reported Monday that its economy grew at a 1.3% quarterly pace in January-March, down from 1.4% in the previous quarter. It expanded at a 4.8% annual pace, which was better than expected, but economists noted that the impact of shutdowns in dozens of cities, including Shanghai, to control coronavirus outbreaks was still to come.
The Shanghai Composite index lost less than 0.1% to 3,194.03, while most other regional markets advanced. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7% to 26,985.09 and the Kospi in Seoul added 1% to 2,718.89. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,565.20. India’s Sensex climbed 0.4% and Bangkok’s SET jumped 0.6%.
Japan’s finance minister, Shunichi Suzuki, on Tuesday reiterated his concern over the dollar’s recent sharp rise against the yen — a consequence of a divergence in monetary policies of the Bank of Japan, which is keeping interest rates low to nurse along the faltering economy, and the Federal Reserve and other central banks that are raising rates to combat surging inflation.
The dollar briefly was trading at 128.26 yen, up from 126.99 late Monday. It has been hovering at 20-year highs for weeks.
A weaker yen makes Japanese exports more competitive overseas and enhances yen-denominated profits of companies when they convert them from dollars, but it also raises costs for imports of oil and gas, food, manufacturing inputs and other necessities for the world’s third-largest economy.
The euro rose slightly to $1.0794 from $1.0781.
The price of benchmark U.S. oil fell $1.53 to $106.68 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.2% to settle at $108.21 per barrel on Monday.
Brent crude, the international pricing standard, shed $1.42 to $111.74 per barrel.