Shares were mixed in early European trading on Tuesday after a strong day of gains in Asia, while US futures edged lower.
Benchmarks slipped in London and Frankfurt on Tuesday but rose in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Investors appeared to be shrugging off surging coronavirus caseloads in dozens of countries after the S&P 500 started off August by closing within 3% of the record high it set in February.
According to the World Health Organization’s tally, there were nearly 18 million confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, up from 10.2 million at the beginning of July, as outbreaks expanded or revived in many regions.
Such tallies are thought to vastly understate the number of actual cases due to limits of testing and other issues.
Germany’s DAX lost 0.6% to 12,572.29 while in London, the FTSE 100 edged 0.3% lower to 6,017.13. The CAC 40 in Paris was 0.1% higher at 4,879.84.
The future contract for the S&P 500 fell 0.3% while the future for the Dow lost 0.2%.
The continued spread of the coronavirus is raising worries that the economy could backslide again, snuffing out recent budding improvements.
But overnight, the S&P 500 added another 0.7% onto its four-month winning streak, closing within 3% of the record high it set in February, at 3,294.61.
Microsoft and Apple alone accounted for most of the S&P 500’s gain: Through the pandemic, Big Tech has remained almost immune to such concerns on expectations that it can continue to grow.
Apart from the wall of money buttressing markets thanks to massive monetary stimulus and government spending, it seems that investors are already inoculated from the virus while camping under the tech umbrella, Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. said in a commentary.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.7% to 22,573.66 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 2% to 24,946.63. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 jumped 1.9% to 6,037.60 and the Kospi in Seoul picked up 1.3% to 2,279.97. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,371.69.
With the total US caseload rising by less than 50,000 for two straight days, investors are betting that US outbreaks might be moderating, said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda.
Hopes rose that the US might avoid a deeper recession, which was all financial markets needed to send equity markets higher, and for the US dollar to continue recovering some of its recent losses,” Halley said in a commentary.
Microsoft was down 1.5% in pre-market trading after jumping 5.6% on Monday after it confirmed that it’s in talks to buy the US arm of TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has drawn the White House’s scrutiny.
Microsoft said its CEO, Satya Nadella, has discussed the issue with President Donald Trump, and the tech giant expects the talks with TikTok to end no later than September 15, either with a deal or without.
Apple’s shares also were 1.5% lower ahead of the market open. The company added 2.5% Monday to its 10.5% rise on Friday following a blowout profit report.
Corporate profits have exceeded analysts’ expectations across the markets.
Roughly two-thirds of the way into earnings season, 84% of S&P 500 companies have reported stronger results than expected, according to FactSet.
In other trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 0.55%.
Benchmark US crude lost 48 cents to 40.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
It rose 1.8% to settle at 41.01 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 50 cents to 43.65. It climbed 1.4% to 44.15 per barrel on Monday.
The US dollar bought 105.92 Japanese yen, down from 105.96 yen late Monday. The euro rose to 1.1788 from 1.1765.