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The S&P 500 was up 0.4% after wobbling between gains and losses shortly after trading began, following up on mixed moves overseas. European stocks inched higher, while many Asian markets finished with losses. Treasury yields were holding steady.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 265 points, or 1.1%, at 25,281, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite was down 0.3%.
They’re the latest choppy moves for markets around the world, which have been swinging back and forth in recent weeks. A rise in infections of the new coronavirus, including in the U.S. South and West, has dented the optimism that earlier sent the S&P 500 screaming nearly all the way back to the record it reached in February.
The worry is that the worsening levels could choke off the budding improvements the economy has shown recently as states and other governments ease up on lockdown orders, even with the Federal Reserve and other central banks pumping unprecedented amounts of aid into the economy.
“Conflicting signals between the COVID-19 spread and economic data continue to keep risk sentiment, and consequently markets, in a gridlock going into the end of June,” said Jingyi Pan of IG.
Florida and Texas put new restrictions on bars to slow the spread of the virus, for example, which helped drive the S&P 500 to a loss of 2.9% last week. Other government around the world are likewise backtracking on efforts to reopen their economies following widespread lockdowns that have sent the global economy into a sudden, severe recession.
Given all the uncertainty, many professional investors say the only sure thing for markets is that upcoming movements will likely be volatile. The second quarter of the year is set to close out Tuesday, and the S&P 500 is on pace for a return of roughly 17%, including dividends, its best since late 1998. Of course, that follows the U.S. stock market’s loss of nearly 20%, which was its worst since the bottom of the 2008 financial crisis.
Stocks of several companies that would benefit most from a reopening economy helped lead the way in the early going on Wall Street. Boeing jumped 6.2% after reports that test flights on its troubled 737 Max jet could begin soon. Southwest Airlines rose 2%,
TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %BABOEING COMPANY183.18+13.17+7.75%LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.34.90+2.94+9.20%CCLCARNIVAL CORP.16.24+0.46+2.92%EXPEEXPEDIA GROUP, INC.80.80+3.21+4.14%FBFACEBOOK INC.218.98+2.90+1.34%
But the gains weren’t uniform. Other travel companies whose fortunes are also excruciatingly tied to the pandemic were lower. Cruise operator Carnival lost 2.9%, and Expedia Group slipped 1.5%.
Facebook also had one of the worst losses in the S&P 500, down 2.3%, as it deals with a defection of advertisers tired of the racist and violent posts spreading through the social network. Starbucks on Sunday became the latest big company to say it will pause its advertising on social media.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 2.3%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1%. The Kospi in Seoul fell 1.9%.
In Europe, Germany's DAX returned 0.1%, while the French CAC 40 was virtually flat. The FTSE 100 in London added 0.4%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury inched up to 0.64% from 0.63% late Friday. It tends to move with investors’ expectations for the economy and inflation.