US equities were little changed as investors assessed corporate earnings and economic data. Treasuries joined a global rally in sovereign bonds and the dollar extended its rally to a six-week high.
The S&P 500 Index fluctuated between small losses and gains after closing at a record. AT&T Inc and Caterpillar Inc fell after reporting first-quarter results, while Boeing Co rose. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index edged lower, threatening to snap the longest rally since 2017.
The euro fell after key gauges of confidence in the EU’s two largest economies unexpectedly deteriorated.
US stocks have been on a tear since late last year, but the fresh record appears to have triggered some soul-searching among investors. Although about 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reporting results so far have exceeded estimates, some are starting to question whether the rally has legs. Positive earnings surprises in Europe, meanwhile, have done little to erase lingering concerns about the region’s economic outlook. Still ahead is US first-quarter gross domestic product data due on Friday.
“Overall, we’ve seen somewhat better-than-expected earnings coming in,” said Bill Merz, the head of fixed-income research at US Bank Wealth Management. “But we do see softness in economic data across the globe, and while there are some signs of potential bottoming outside the US, we do see enough signs of slowing growth.”
Asian stock gauges were mixed on Wednesday. In China, markets got little help from the central bank’s move to support liquidity in the banking system by injecting the equivalent of about $40 billion in medium-term loans. Policy makers have refrained from stronger measures, such as lowering benchmark lending rates, as an upturn in economic data reduces the pressure for more stimulus.
Elsewhere, the pound was steady as UK Prime Minister Theresa May pushed to get Brexit a deal through Parliament by the end of the month. Emerging-market currencies and shares edged lower.
A Who’s Who of the tech world reports this week, with Amazon, Facebook and
Microsoft among the heavy hitters on tap. European bank earnings kick into full gear with reports from Deutsche Bank, UBS, Barclays and Swedbank. The Bank of Japan, Bank of
Russia, Sweden’s Riksbank and Bank of Indonesia set monetary policy. Japan’s Shinzo Abe meets leaders of the European Union on Thursday before flying to the US for a summit with President Donald Trump. The initial print on first-quarter US GDP on Friday will be closely watched for clues as to how the economy responded to the government shutdown and fallout from the fourth-quarter market rout.
The S&P 500 Index was little changed in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent, the first retreat in two weeks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4 percent. The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 0.8 percent.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index added 0.4 percent. The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.1193, the weakest in more than three weeks. The Japanese yen gained 0.1 percent to 111.72 per dollar. The British pound rose 0.1 percent to $1.2955. The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index sank 0.4 percent to the lowest since March.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped five basis points to 2.52 percent. Germany’s 10-year yield declined six basis points to -0.02 percent. Britain’s 10-year yield decreased five basis points to 1.17 percent.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 0.2 percent. West Texas crude fell 0.2 percent to $66.16 a barrel. Copper rose 0.3 percent to $2.9095 a pound. Gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,273.38 an ounce.