Tue. 9:08 a.m.: US futures lower to start holiday-shortened earnings week

In this Sept. 14 file photo, a trader looks over his cellphone outside the New York Stock Exchange in the financial district of Manhattan in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)



U.S. markets appeared slow to gain traction early this morning to start a holiday-shortened, earnings-heavy week.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials slipped 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent before the bell.

U.S. markets, which were closed for a holiday Monday, ended last week with gains on optimism that cooling inflation could lead the Federal Reserve to ease off the aggressive monetary policy it has deployed to fight elevated inflation.

There are signs that portions of the economy have slowed which, in addition to stubborn inflation, is weighing on major U.S. companies, which began reporting quarterly earnings Friday.

United Airlines reports quarter earnings after the closing bell and Netflix posts results later in the week. This morning, Goldman Sachs fell nearly 2 percent before the opening bell after the investment bank reported fourth-quarter profits slumped. Morgan Stanley fared a little better and shares edged higher in premarket trading.

Global markets are mostly lower this morning after China reported its economy expanded at a 3 percent pace last year, less than half 2021’s rate.

European shares declined and Asian shares were mixed as investors watched to see if Japan’s central bank will alter its longstanding policy of keeping its key interest rate at minus 0.1 percent when it wraps up a policy meeting on Wednesday.

The Chinese economy is gradually reviving after antivirus controls and a real estate slump dragged on growth last year. Restrictions that kept millions of people at home have been lifted, but a surge in COVID-19 infections is keeping consumers cautious about travel, shopping and dining out. Data reported this morning showed growth of the world’s second largest economy slid to 2.9 percent over a year earlier in December from the previous months 3.9 percent.

The government has begun to soften a crackdown on technology industries and to roll out more support for private businesses and the property sector, seeking to spur a recovery.

“The good news is that there are now signs of stabilization, as policy support doled out towards the end of 2022 is showing up in the relative resilience of infrastructure investment and credit growth,” Louise Loo of Oxford Economics said in a research note.

Germany’s DAX land the CAC 40 in Paris were both down 0.1 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was set to meet with her Chinese counterpart in Switzerland on Wednesday. Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He plan to discuss economic developments between the U.S. and China at a time of persisting tensions over trade and technology.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.2 percent to 26,138.68 and the Sensex in Mumbai gained 1 percent, to 60,676.01.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.8 percent to 21,577.64 and the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1 percent lower to 3,224.24. In Seoul, the Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 2,379.39. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was barely changed, at 7,386.30.

Bangkok’s benchmark shed 0.1 percent.

In other trading today, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 63 cents to $80.49 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.47 to $79.86 per barrel on Monday.

Brent crude, the pricing standard for international trading, picked up $1.33 to $85.79 per barrel in London.

The dollar was unchanged at 128.53 Japanese yen. The euro ticked up to $1.0837 from $1.0822.

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