Asian markets sputter after Wall Street’s strong start.
Investor enthusiasm waned on Tuesday after a big day on Wall Street, with Asian markets only moderately higher and stocks elsewhere poised to open lower.
Stocks in mainland China led the way, after sitting out a strong Monday because of a holiday. Within the Asia-Pacific region, Australian and New Zealand stocks were also more than 1 percent higher.
Other signs pointed to lingering skepticism. Futures markets indicated stocks in Europe and the United States would open lower later on Tuesday.
Monday’s rally was fueled in part by signs of progress in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and Europe. But the global economy still faces daunting challenges before it can get back on track.
The bond market was mixed, with the 10-year Treasury bond rising in price. Gold prices rose in futures markets.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index was 2 percent higher in afternoon trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 1.5 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index was up 1.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent.
Stocks rallied on Monday as investors seized on signals that the coronavirus outbreak may be peaking in some of the world’s worst-hit places.
The number of new confirmed deaths and infections is slowing in parts of Europe, and the number of deaths in New York has been steady for two days. In Italy and Spain, the total number of patients continues to climb, but the rate of new infections is no longer rising.
Wall Street analysts have been closely tracking the growth path of infections, with some spotlighting recent news as an indication that the outbreak could be near a peak in the United States. Analysts highlighted the tentative deceleration of infections in New York as a good sign for other virus hot spots in the country, as well as for stock market sentiment.
“This does not mean that the all clear is immediate, nor does it mean that the U.S. economy will quickly recover. But the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to emerge,” Dan Clifton, a partner at Strategas Research Partners, a financial and economic consulting firm, wrote in a note.
The optimism drove U.S. shares sharply higher. The S&P 500 rose 7 percent, its biggest gain since March 24, when it climbed more than 9 percent.
Still, there was a strong defensive tilt to trading. The utilities sector — typically an area dominated by risk-averse investors — was one of the best performing in the S&P 500, with a gain of almost 8 percent.
That suggests investors still see plenty of reason to be cautious.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Abercrombie & Fitch said on Monday that it would furlough its store employees in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America on April 12. The affected workers will still receive benefits. The retailer also announced it would cut the pay and work hours of some of its corporate employees and that its executive salaries would be reduced 10 percent to 33 percent.
Samsung Electronics said it expects that its operating profit for the first quarter rose slightly, to $5.2 billion, compared with $5.1 billion a year earlier, with the coronavirus boosting the sale of chips for data centers and laptops used by workers forced to stay home. But the pandemic was expected to eat into demand for smartphones, televisions and other consumer electronics over the coming year.
Reporting was contributed by Carlos Tejada, Daniel Victor and Austin Ramzy.