General Electric Co and U.S. technology shares rose on Tuesday, helping global stock markets regain ground a day after a mounting trade fight between the United States and other top world economies chased investors into safe-haven assets.
GE jumped 7.6 per cent, the biggest percentage gainer on Wall Street’s S&P 500 index, after the company said it would spin off its healthcare business and divest its stake in oil-services company Baker Hughes.
Tech stocks rebounded from a sharp selloff on Monday, after U.S. government officials said plans were in the works to block firms with at least 25-per-cent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. companies with “industrially significant technology.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.5 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 24,271.3, the S&P 500 gained 2.99 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 2,720.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14.48 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 7,546.48.
At 11:23 a.m. ET, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 92.19 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 16,276.60.
Energy stocks jumped 1.8 per cent, led by 2.5-per-cent increases from Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
Europe’s main stock exchanges also got a reprieve. A 0.3-per-cent rise on the FTSE in London and 0.03-per-cent gain in Paris were a welcome sight after Asia had extended a sell-off that has wiped $1.5-trillion off world stocks.
Despite the modest gains, investors remained wary.
“There is still generally a focus on trade and a bit of uncertainty over what we are going to hear from the Trump administration this week regarding potential investment restrictions,” said Brian Daingerfield, macro strategist at RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.
Escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as Washington and Europe, led two benchmark Wall Street indexes on Monday to suffer their worst losses in more than two months and launched China into bear market territory, with its major stock indexes down 20-per-cent decline from January peaks.
After seeing a surge in buying on Monday, U.S. Treasury yields held at lower levels on lingering fears that trade tensions could hurt economic growth, though safe-haven buying was capped on anticipation of more interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
The tense atmosphere knocked down most industrial metal prices amid worries about the global economic fallout of the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, which could hamper growth and metals demand.
Copper and aluminum were at or near their lowest since April while zinc plunged to its weakest since August last year.
In currencies, dollar index rose 0.29 per cent, with the euro down 0.32 per cent to $1.1664.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.12 per cent versus the greenback at 109.92 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3244, down 0.23 per cent on the day.
The Turkish lira firmed against the dollar in volatile trade amid uncertainty over economic policy under a new government due to be formed following President Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in Sunday’s election.
Oil was mixed on Tuesday, pressured by reports of increased Saudi production and escalating trade conflicts, but receiving support from production losses in Canada and Libya.
Brent crude lost 33 cents at $74.40 a barrel. U.S. light crude gained 20 cents at $68.28.
Prices, which had been positive earlier in the session, fell following a report from Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi production would reach a record 10.8 million barrels per day in July.
“There was a headline out that the Saudis are producing at levels that are largely perceived to be above and beyond...that has been the death blow in the past couple minutes,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.
“It’s definitely a big number, bigger than expected. But keep in mind that any big Saudi production numbers have to take into consideration that cooling demand in Saudi is going to max out in this month, next month, and the month after that,” Yawger said.
Meanwhile, Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces have given control of oil ports to a separate National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the country’s east.
The official state-owned oil company from the capital Tripoli, also called NOC, will no longer be allowed to handle that oil, in a move the Tripoli government said would deepen division.
The output losses follow a move by OPEC and other oil producers last week to increase supply by around 1 million barrels per day (bpd).
Prices have thus far reacted modestly to the prospect of higher OPEC production, partly because supply has tightened since 2017, and partly because it is not clear exactly how much extra oil will come on to the market or when.
Production problems at one of Canada’s largest oil sands facilities helped drive front-month U.S. crude to its highest premium above second-month futures since 2014.
Many analysts think markets will stay tight.