U.S. stocks pared losses as technology shares buoyed indexes amid better-than-expected earnings, while Treasuries climbed as economic growth and trade concerns pushed investors out of riskier assets.
The S&P 500 Index cut more than two-thirds off an early decline of as much as 0.9 percent as tech companies turned higher, boosted by a strong report from Motorola Solutions. Global equities still headed toward their first weekly decline after Australia’s central bank joined European and British officials in tamping down economic forecasts at the same time the prospects for an extension of the U.S.’s trade detente with China continued to fade.
In corporate news, Hasbro tumbled after its earnings disappointed, while rival Mattel surged on a positive report. Amazon slid as the feud between its CEO and President Donald Trump took an unexpected turn, highlighting the ongoing political turmoil in Washington just a week from a deadline to fund the government.
The 10-year Treasury yield slumped a fourth day and gold futures remained above $1,300 an ounce. Renewed fears over the potential for more protectionist measures helped push emerging-market equities down for a third session. China’s market remained shut for Lunar New Year, though Hong Kong reopened and shares finished slightly lower.
“The market, which is very overextended, had a terrific rally of five-and-a-half weeks,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities Corp. “You had a confluence of these negative events, so we get knocked down.”
The host of threats that sent equities into a tailspin at the end of 2018 bubbled back to the surface this week. The U.S. and China look unlikely to reach a deal before the March 1 deadline for higher tariffs, while warnings mount that the dispute is hurting global growth and corporate profits. The U.S. government could be headed for another shutdown as political tensions flare between Congress and the president. Only the Federal Reserve, which made an abrupt about-face in its policy stance, hasn’t added to anxiety this week.
These are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent at 3:04 p.m. in New York.
- The MSCI All-Country World Index dropped 0.6 percent, pushing a weekly slide to 0.8 percent.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 0.6 percent.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index dipped 0.6 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
- The euro fell 0.1 percent at $1.133.
- The British pound fell 0.1 percent to $1.2937.
- The Japanese yen advanced 0.1 percent to 109.72 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 2.63 percent, the lowest in more than a week.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 0.09 percent, the lowest in more than two years.
- Britain’s 10-year yield dropped three basis points to 1.165 percent, the lowest in more than 13 months.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was steady at $52.63 a barrel.
- Gold advanced 0.3 percent to $1,318.60 an ounce.