Overnight markets: Wall Street ends lower as tech shares weigh

Wall Street lost ground on Tuesday, giving up early gains, as technology stocks took a hit ahead of earnings reports while investors hoped for economic revival as states began to relax lockdown restrictions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 32 points, or 0.13%, to 24,102, the S&P 500 lost 15 points, or 0.52%, to 2,863 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 122 points, or 1.4%, to 8,608.

At session highs, the Dow was up 378 points, or 1.6%, the S&P 500 rose 43, or 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite index advanced 100, or 1.2%.

Technology stocks weighed on all the three major US stock indexes ahead of earnings reports. After the bell, Google parent Alphabet reported first-quarter earnings of $6.84 billion, compared with $6.66 billion in the year-ago period, amid notable slowdown in ad sales.

The US Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day monetary policy meeting today to contend with crushing joblessness and an ailing economy.

On the data front, Consumer confidence plunged in April, with the ‘current conditions’ component suffering its largest drop ever, according to the Conference Board.

Investors also watched volatility in the oil market, with the US benchmark shedding another 3.4% Tuesday, after a 25% swoon on Monday reflecting a growing global glut and a tightening storage picture.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, seven closed in the black, led by energy and materials.

Healthcare stocks dropped 2.1%. Merck & Co warned of a $2.1 billion hit to its 2020 revenue. The drugmaker’s shares fell 3.3%.

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3M, manufacturer of highly sought-after N95 protective masks, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, sending its shares up 2.6%.

Harley-Davidson Inc shares jumped 15.2% after the motorcycle maker took steps to boost cash reserves to contend with dropping demand due to lockdowns.

PepsiCo rose 1.4%, benefiting from rising snack demand due to stay-at-home orders.

In Asia, shares rose in morning session on Wednesday as investors await the US Fed’s decision on interest rates, expected later on Wednesday stateside.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up about 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also advanced 0.84%.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.05% in morning trade. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.09%.



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