NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is drifting on Monday, as stocks worldwide stall following the latest signal that the world’s second-largest economy is flagging.
The S&P 500 was virtually unchanged in early trading, coming off its seventh winning week in the last nine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 5 points, or less than 0.1%, at 34,503, as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.2% higher.
Stocks around the world slipped after China reported weaker economic growth for the spring than economists expected. Its recovery following the removal of anti-COVID restrictions has fallen short of forecasts. While that’s helped to limit inflation globally, it’s also diluted a main engine of growth for the world’s economy.
The weak Chinese data helped send crude prices lower, with benchmark U.S. oil falling 1.1% to $74.60 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 1.3% to $78.80 per barrel. The hope among investors is that the disappointing figures will push Chinese authorities to approve more stimulus for their economy.
In the United States, the economy has remained resilient even though an expected boost from a Chinese recovery has yet to materialize. It’s managed to avoid a long-predicted recession despite much higher interest rates meant to push down high inflation.
This upcoming week will offer more details on how that mix has affected companies as corporate earnings season ramps up. Nearly 60 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report this upcoming week how much profit they made from April through June.
Expectations broadly are low. Analysts are forecasting the worst drop for earnings per share among S&P 500 companies since the pandemic was pummeling the economy in the spring of 2020, according to FactSet. They’re also forecast a third straight quarter of declines in profits.
Several banks and Delta Air Lines helped kick off the reporting season last week with reports that were better than feared. This upcoming week will feature reports from Bank of America, Netflix and Tesla, among others.
Also coming up this week will be the latest monthly update on sales at U.S. retailers. Strong spending by U.S. consumers has been one of the main reasons for the economy’s resilience, driven by a remarkably sturdy job market.
Such resilient data dovetailed with inflation that’s recently been on the decline have helped launch Wall Street higher this year. The hope among investors is that it all of will together push the Federal Reserve to soon put a halt to its blistering campaign to raise interest rates.
The wide expectation is for the Fed to raise rates at its meeting next week, which would take the federal funds rate to its highest level since 2001. But the hope is that will be the final hike of this cycle.
Easier interest rates help all kinds of stocks, but investors see big technology and other high-growth stocks as some of the biggest beneficiaries.
Several were leading the market Monday, including Tesla, which rose 3.2%. It also said over the weekend that its first production Cybertruck electric pickup has rolled off the assembly line, though that was nearly two years behind the original schedule.
Activision Blizzard climbed 3% after a U.S. appeals court late Friday rejected a bid by regulators to block the video game maker’s $68.7 billion purchase by Microsoft.
Microsoft also said on Sunday it agreed with Sony to keep the Call of Duty series on the PlayStation console following its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a move that could help ease regulators’ worries about the deal. Microsoft slipped 0.4%.
On the losing end was Ford, which fell 4%. It cut the sticker price on its F-150 Lightning electric pickup by thousands of dollars.
In markets abroad, stocks in Shanghai slipped 0.9% following the weak Chinese economic data, and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4%. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday and Hong Kong’s market was shuttered due to a typhoon.
In Europe, the losses were modest outside of a 1.1% drop for France’s CAC 40.
In the bond market, Treasury yields were little changed.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was holding steady at 3.84%. It helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans.
The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more on expectations for Fed actions, slipped to 4.76% from 4.77% late Friday.
AP Business Writers Matt Ott and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.