Stocks drop as trade dims earnings outlook; Mexican peso tumbles

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of stock markets around the world fell on Tuesday as trade tensions weighed on the outlook for corporate earnings, while Mexico’s peso tumbled after the country’s finance minister resigned.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

European and U.S. stocks dropped early after German chemicals giant BASF warned of a 30% fall in its adjusted annual profit, citing trade friction and a global slowdown in growth.

On Wall Street, an analyst downgrade of 3M Co contributed to a drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. However, the benchmark S&P 500 index edged higher and the Nasdaq posted gains as the tech-related FAANG stocks rose.

Even so, MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.10%.

The Mexican peso slid as much as 2.25% against the dollar after Finance Minister Carlos Urzua resigned, citing deep differences over economic issues. It was last down 1.2%.

Some encouraging news on trade came as the United States and China were set to relaunch talks this week after a two-month hiatus. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said talks with the European Union to move forward on a trade agreement were also in progress.

However, skepticism remained among market participants on how much progress the United States and China have made toward resolving their differences.

“A resolution to the trade war is far off,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it went into 2020.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.65 points, or 0.08%, to 26,783.49, the S&P 500 gained 3.68 points, or 0.12%, to 2,979.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.35 points, or 0.54%, to 8,141.73.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.0613%, from 2.034% late on Monday.

The potential reaction to monetary policy at the world’s top central banks also remained in focus ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

Money market futures <0#FF:> are still fully pricing in a 25-basis-point cut at the Fed’s July 30-31 meeting, but have almost priced out a larger half-percentage-point move that had been seen as a real possibility just a couple of weeks ago.

“There may be some clarity coming out in the next couple of days based on what Powell says at these hearings,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management.

(GRAPHIC – U.S. government debt yield curve:

In currency markets, Britain’s sterling dropped to a six-month low and was last 0.4% lower against the dollar at $1.2462 amid a worsening economic outlook and rising fears about a no-deal exit for Britain from the European Union.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.13%, while the euro dipped 0.1% to $1.1206.

Oil prices firmed as OPEC supply cuts and Middle East tensions outweighed the U.S.-China trade dispute that has been dragging down the global economy and oil demand.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Brent crude futures settled up 5 cents to $64.16. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled up 17 cents to $57.83.

Spot gold ticked 0.1% higher to $1,397.06 an ounce.

(GRAPHIC – Dot plot, Fed funds futures July 9:

Additional reporting by Evan Sully, Caroline Valetkevitch, Kate Duguid, Stephanie Kelly and Richard Leong in New York and Marc Jones, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Alex Lawler in London; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish

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