Stocks Turn Higher, Recovering Some of Ground Lost Last Week

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Stock indexes turned higher in midday trading on Wall Street Tuesday as technology companies and other sectors recovered some of the sharp losses caused by last week’s rapid rise in interest rates.

Raw-material producers sank on worries that higher costs and weakening demand are eroding profits. Treasury yields dipped in the first day of bond trading after a holiday on Monday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 7 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,892, as of noon Eastern time. It had wavered between small gains and losses earlier. Slightly more stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31, or 0.1 percent, to 26,518, and the Nasdaq composite fell 43, or 0.6 percent, to 7,779.

INTEREST RATES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 3.21 percent from 3.22 late Friday.

Bond yields have been at center stage since last week, when their quick rise following several encouraging reports on the economy rattled markets. If rates go high enough, they can slow the economy and drive investors away from stocks and into bonds.

The 10-year yield was just 3.05 percent last Tuesday, and the speed of the recent rise has been more concerning to investors than the level. Rates are still relatively low, and the Federal Reserve’s main interest rate is still less than half of what it was in 2006 before the Great Recession.

The International Monetary Fund cited higher rates, as well as ongoing trade battles, as a reason for downgrading its forecast for global economic growth late Monday.

MATERIAL CONCERNS: PPG, which sells paints and coatings, sank 9.4 percent to $99.30, the biggest loss in the S&P 500, after it warned that higher costs for oil and other materials will weigh on its third-quarter results. It also said that demand is weakening in China, as well as in the United States and Europe for automotive refinish products.

The profit warning helped send raw-material producers in the S&P 500 down 2.1 percent for the sharpest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

TECH RECOUPS: Technology stocks have been leading the market, both on the way up for most of the past year and on the way down over the last week. Technology companies are producing some of the biggest profit growth in the market, but their stocks are also trading at relatively high prices relative to those earnings. That makes them susceptible when worries are high that rising interest rates will hurt stocks with high price-earnings ratios.

Tech stocks in the S&P 500 are down 3 percent so far this month, nearly triple the loss for the overall index. But the group rose 0.4 percent Tuesday as interest rates dropped.

MARKETS ABROAD: Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.2 percent.

In Europe, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.3 percent, and the German DAX gained 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 in London edged up 0.1 percent.

IMF DOWNGRADE: The International Monetary Fund has said the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017, but down from its earlier forecast of 3.9 percent. The IMF also cut its forecast for Chinese economic growth in 2019 to 6.2 percent, which would be its slowest since 1990.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 60 cents to $74.89 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 84 cents to $84.73.

Gold rose $2.40 to $1,191.00.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 129.69 Japanese yen from 112.98 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1471 from $1.1488, and the British pound held steady at $1.3090.

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