Wall Street was set to open lower on Tuesday, as renewed worries over a prolonged trade spat between the United States and China weighed on investor sentiment.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States this week for trade talks, Beijing said on Tuesday, playing down a sudden increase in tensions after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to impose new tariffs.
Trump in a surprise move on Sunday said the higher levies would go into effect on Friday if no deal with China was sealed, which triggered a global sell-off in equities and inflamed fears of a slowdown in global growth.
“There is some uncertainty on what the ultimate result of the trade negotiations will be. If there is no deal that will be interpreted quite negatively by markets,” said Matt Forester, chief investment officer of BNY Mellon’s Lockwood Advisors in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Tariff-sensitive Boeing Co fell 1.2% in premarket trading, while Caterpillar Inc declined 1.1%. Boeing’s stock was also weighed by report of a Barclays downgrade to “equal weight”.
Trade tensions also sent oil prices lower and halted a recent rally that propelled the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs. The benchmark index is nearly 1% away from its all-time high of 2,954.13.
Adding to the downbeat mood, the European Commission said Italy’s huge debt is expected to grow further this year and the next as the country’s growth remains sluggish.
At 8:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 158 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 19 points, or 0.65% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 61.5 points, or 0.79%.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp fell 0.5% and Chevron Corp was off 0.3%.
The earnings season has now reached its homestretch. Of the 392 S&P companies that have reported earnings so far, about 75% have surpassed analysts’ estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
The upbeat reports have turned around earnings estimates for the first quarter to an almost 1% rise, a huge improvement from the 2.3% decline expected at the start of the earnings season.
American International Group Inc jumped 4.8% after the insurer reported a quarterly profit that blew past expectations and posted its first underwriting profit since the financial crisis.
Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc fell 4.1% after the drugmaker missed quarterly profit estimates. On the macro front, a Labor Department report is likely to show U.S. job openings increasing to 7.240 million in March, after it fell to 7.087 million in February. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.
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