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US stocks edge higher in choppy seas

By AFP - Jul 14,2020 - Last updated at Jul 14,2020

People walk outside the New York Stock Exchange on Monday (AFP photo)

NEW YORK — Wall Street stocks edged higher in choppy trading on Tuesday following mixed earnings reports from large banks as markets assessed the economic hit from the US coronavirus resurgence.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2 per cent at 25,141.15.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 3,157.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent to 10,419.35.

Large US banks reported huge increase in reserves set aside for bad loans amid the latest rise in US coronavirus cases that has prompted Texas, California and other states to roll back steps to reopen their economies.

But both JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported better-than-expected profits due to strength in trading and investment banking. Wells Fargo suffered a $2.4 billion loss.

JPMorgan shares rose 0.4 per cent, while Citigroup fell 2.1 per cent and Wells Fargo tumbled 6.6 per cent.

Delta Air Lines shed 2.8 per cent as it reported a second-quarter loss of $5.7 billion due to the steep downturn in travel caused by the coronavirus.

The reports marked the unofficial start of the second-quarter earnings season, which many analysts expect to show the bulk of the hit from the COVID-19 closures.

While in Europe, Frankfurt stocks dived 1.5 per cent and Paris shed 1.8 per cent, with sentiment hit by the reimposition of some containment measures in parts of the United States, Australia and Hong Kong.

London traded only a shade lower as the British pound slid on official data showing that the virus-plagued UK economy shrank by almost a fifth in the three months to April.

A weaker British currency tends to boost share prices of companies listed in London who earn vast sums in dollars.

World oil prices fell further on growing speculation that top crude producing countries will agree to tapering their output cuts at an expanded OPEC+ meeting this week.

In Asia, Hong Kong fell more than 1 per cent, Shanghai dropped 0.8 per cent and Tokyo lost 0.9 per cent. 

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.87 per cent, or 197.73 points, at 22,587.01, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.50 per cent, or 7.87 points, to 1,565.15.


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