European shares opened mixed on Friday after benchmarks in Asia dipped, following Wall Street down amid more signals the U.S. economy may be slowing.
Markets rose in Paris and Frankfurt but fell in London. Oil prices recovered from early losses.
Trading this week has been driven largely by earnings reports and speculation over how the latest economic indicators might affect central bank decisions on raising interest rates to rein in inflation.
The majority of companies have been topping Wall Street profit forecasts so far in the early days of this reporting season. Analysts had forecast this would mark the sharpest drop in S&P 500 earnings per share since the pandemic was pounding the economy in 2020.
But other issues such as Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting, in May, and the looming expiration of the U.S. national debt ceiling are coming into focus, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.
“In the medium term, however, recessionary concerns remain top of mind,” Innes said, adding that “given the ongoing fragility of things, we could see more downside play out in stocks.”
A showdown is looming over the debt ceiling, with the White House estimating that the plan proposed by the Republican Party -led House would bring a painful 22% cut to non-defense spending that would leave children poorer, veterans sicker, families hungrier and housing more expensive.
Germany’s DAX lost 0.2% to 15,763.02. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.1%, at 7,548.64. Britain’s FTSE rose 0.3% to 7,921.76.
The future for the S&P 500 was nearly unchanged while the contract for the Dow was 0.1% lower.
In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to 28,564.37. The Kospi in Seoul dropped 0.7% to 2,544.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 1.6% to 20,075.73.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney lost 0.4% to 7,333.40, while the Shanghai Composite shed 2% to 3,301.26.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.6%, weighed down by Tesla on worries about how much profit it’s making on each of its electric vehicles.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3%, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.8%.
Tesla’s shares fell for a second straight day on worries about how much profit it’s making on each of its electric vehicles. It dropped 9.7% after reporting revenue for the first three months of the year that fell short of analysts’ expectations as it repeatedly cut prices on its models.
Several banks also dropped after reporting weaker profits and revenue than expected, including KeyCorp and Zions Bancorp.
AT&T sank 10.4% after it reported slightly weaker revenue than analysts forecast, though profit squeaked past expectations. Analysts also pointed to weaker cash flow than some expected. It was the worst day for its stock in two decades and its second-worst since late 1983.
The Fed has intentionally been trying to cool the economy by raising interest rates in hopes of reining in high inflation. It’s an effective but blunt tool that slows the broad economy, raising the risk of a recession and hurting prices for investments.
Slightly more workers filed for unemployment benefits last week than the week before, a potential signal that a still-strong job market is starting to soften under the weight of much higher interest rates.
The housing market was one of the first sectors to bend under the weight of much higher interest rates, as mortgage rates quickly climbed. A report on Thursday said sales of previously occupied homes slowed in March but remain above its bottom hit at the start of this year.
Wall Street’s losses Thursday were offset by big gains from companies whose earnings topped analysts’ expectations.
Lam Research, a supplier for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, rose 7.2% after it reported profit and revenue for the latest quarter that beat Wall Street’s forecast.
Profits are under pressure as inflation remains high, interest rates are much higher than a year ago and portions of the economy are slow.
In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 6 cents to $77.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It declined $1.87 to $77.37 per barrel on Thursday.
Brent crude, the international pricing standard, added 6 cents to $81.16 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar fell to 133.76 Japanese yen from 134.24 yen. The euro weakened to $1.0960 from $1.0970.