Weak economic data, tariff concerns weigh on stocks globally


NEW YORK; Weak US and euro zone manufacturing data and Washington’s threat to impose additional tariffs on European goods weighed on global stock markets on Tuesday, cooling a rally that pushed US stocks to near-record highs the previous day.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks stocks in 47 countries, rose less than 0.1%. Investors were discouraged by data showing factory activity in the euro zone shrank at a faster pace than expected last month and another report showing US manufacturing activity slowed in June.

In addition, the US Trade Representative’s office released a list of additional European products that could be subject to tariffs, on top of products worth $21 billion that were announced in April. These included olives, Italian cheese and Scotch whisky.

Stocks had rallied globally on Monday after US President Donald Trump postponed imposing more tariffs on Chinese products and the two countries agreed to continue negotiations. It’s clear that the tariffs already in place will continue to take a toll on global and domestic growth, and with Trump now turning his attention on Europe, the early bullish bias seems to ease again, said Konstantinos Anthis, head of research at ADSS.

The uncertainty about what could still come on trade causes confidence to fall and investors to hold back on their investment, which is a driver in markets today, he added. At the same time, investors are looking for positive economic data before they will push stocks higher, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. The US benchmark S&P 500 hit record intra-day highs on Monday before paring its gains.

While the threat of additional tariffs on EU imports is still an overhang for investors, the market is more likely taking a breather until new macro-economic data comes out, On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.95 points, or 0%, to 26,718.38, the S&P 500 gained 0.1 points, or 0.00%, to 2,964.43 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.23 points, or 0.14%, to 8,079.93.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% following modest gains in Asian equities. The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against major rivals, was 0.1% lower at 96.749. In debt markets, Italian government bonds rallied after Italy cut its 2019 budget deficit target to avoid European Union disciplinary action, potentially easing another major concern for markets. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 16/32 in price to yield 1.9791%, from 2.033% late on Monday.

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