Stocks fail to hold four-month peak as Facebook plunges

Concerns about Facebook’s major earnings miss in an otherwise largely positive US corporate results season did little to support bonds. — Reuters pic
Concerns about Facebook’s major earnings miss in an otherwise largely positive US corporate results season did little to support bonds. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, July 27 — World stock markets failed to hold onto four-month highs yesterday as a record sell-off in Facebook shares offset optimism that the European Union and the United States would settle their differences on trade.

Facebook Inc, the fifth-largest global stock by market capitalisation, collapsed 18.96 per cent, the biggest one-day wipeout in market history, after the social media company’s earnings report showed slowing usage in the biggest advertising markets.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune took an almost US$16 billion (RM65 billion) hit as the declines wiped more than US$120 billion off the company’s value. Executives warned that profits would plummet as the company improves privacy safeguards.

That countered optimism over news that US President Donald Trump agreed to refrain from imposing car tariffs while Europe and the United States negotiated to cut other trade barriers.



MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.04 per cent after earlier in the day rising to the highest level since March 16.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.97 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 25,527.07, the S&P 500 lost 8.63 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 2,837.44 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 80.05 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 7,852.19.

The dollar index rose 0.4 per cent.

Liz Young, senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, said investors’ skepticism of the market is leading them to take a closer look at corporate earnings and other fundamental factors “rather than jumping on the bandwagon and investing in tech stocks.

“People need to be careful right now to be in those trendy trades,” she said.

Yet the heat has eased somewhat over US and European trade issues, allowing markets to return their attention to central banks and their plans to withdraw stimulus.

“Game theory tells us that, in a global trade war, nobody likes to be left out from a deal,” Bank of Corp analysts wrote in a note. “The US-EU deal… has reduced the risk of an escalating global trade war.”

The euro, which initially received the US-EU trade news warmly, fell sharply after European boss Mario Draghi reaffirmed a commitment to keep interest rates on hold “through” next summer, even though he saw picking up by the end of the year.



The euro was down 0.69 per cent to US$1.1647.

Concerns about Facebook’s major earnings miss in an otherwise largely positive US corporate results season did little to support bonds, which lost value as yields resumed their climb higher ahead of an expected strong reading on US gross domestic product data today.

Benchmark 10-year notes hit a six-week high and last yielded 2.982 per cent, up from 2.936 per cent late on Wednesday.

Progress on trade also helped demand for oil, which is sensitive to economic growth prospects. Crude prices also rose as Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through a strait in the Red Sea after an attack by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

US crude settled 0.45 per cent higher at US$69.61 per barrel and rose 0.83 per cent to US$74.54.

Trade is by no means removed from a slate of issues facing investors, with Washington still to finalize an agreement with Europe, while it remains in negotiations with as well as with Canada and Mexico.

China’s blue-chip shares lost 1.1 per cent. Qualcomm Inc dropped its US$44 billion bid for NXP Semiconductors after a deadline for securing Chinese regulatory approval passed.

The breakdown of the deal leaves “investors fearing that the trade war has just turned even more so on China,” Citi analysts told clients. — Reuters



Source: The Malay Mail Online





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