Financial markets edge down slightly before US trading opens

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NEW YORK (AP) – Premarket trading on Wall Street pointed to a slightly lower opening Tuesday after the market’s worst trading month since the pandemic began.

As traders braced for another busy day of corporate earnings releases, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were each down about 0.1% less than two hours before the opening bell. ExxonMobil, Alphabet, General Motors and Starbucks report quarterly financial results on Tuesday.

Stocks in Europe made gains while many markets in China and elsewhere in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX were both up 1.1% in early trade, while Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.9%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5%.

Wall Street ended a turbulent January plagued by concerns that rate hikes would make things more difficult in the markets. Shares closed higher on Monday but still posted their worst monthly loss since the pandemic began almost two years ago.

The S&P 500 fell 5.3% in January, its worst month since March 2020’s 12.5% ​​drop, when it tumbled after the pandemic brought the global economy to a sudden halt. The Dow lost 3.3% in January while the Nasdaq fell 9%.

The Federal Reserve is on the verge of withdrawing the huge stimulus it has pumped into the economy and markets since the pandemic began in 2020. Ultra-low interest rates and other stimuli helped markets recover from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic and then supported stunning gains.

Investors are expecting the US Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates in March to fight inflation. But markets faltered amid uncertainty about how sharply and how quickly the Fed will act.

In energy trading, the US crude index lost 60 cents to $87.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday it was up $1.33 to $88.15 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell to $88.52 a barrel.

In forex trading, the US dollar fell to 114.63 Japanese yen from 115.13 yen. The euro cost $1.1266 versus $1.1236.

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