So far it has been a lackluster start to the week.
Energy and industrial companies were among the early winners Tuesday.
Investors were also embracing signs that businesses were doing their best to reopen following lockdowns meant to contain the pandemic.
Simon Property Group, a major mall operator, rose sharply after the company said it hoped to have half of its retail locations open within the next week.
Any good news has been tempered by reports of new waves of infections in states and countries that are further ahead in lifting lockdown measures. That includes small but disconcerting increases of new infections in South Korea, China and elsewhere.
Many companies are reporting first quarter earnings, often opting to give no financial forecasts due to overwhelming uncertainty over what lies ahead. That was true of Toyota Motor Corp., whose shares fell 2% on Tuesday as it reported its net profit dropped nearly 90% in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, though it said it expected a recovery as the pandemic is brought under control.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil climbed $1.37 to $25.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 60 cents, or 2.4%, to settle at $24.14 a barrel on Monday.
Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 95 cents to $30.58 per barrel. It dropped 4.3% to $29.63 a barrel in London.
“Re-opening economies is riddled with risks," analyst Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.
The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.3% while that for the Dow industrials gained 0.4%.
Signs in Europe
Budget airline Ryanair, which was Europe’s busiest carrier before the pandemic, said it was preparing to operate nearly 1,000 daily flights starting in July, assuming government restrictions on flights are lifted. But in a sign that businesses are still suffering, major business lobbies in Germany, Italy and France published an appeal for more economic support across Europe.
In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.9% higher, at 5,995, while the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.3% to 4,479. Germany’s DAX rose 0.4% to 10,872.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1% to 5,403.00 after the country’s treasurer said the country faces a “sobering” economic outlook due to the effects of the coronavirus and will have its largest-ever deficit when a revised budget is released in October.
Asian auto industry
In China, new figures showed that auto sales fell again in April but losses narrowed in a sign the industry’s biggest global market is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic as Beijing eases anti-disease controls.
Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in the industry’s biggest global market were down 2.6% from a year earlier at 1.5 million, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was an improvement over March’s 48.4% contraction and a nearly 82% plunge in February.
The industry group said the market is showing “obvious signs of recovery.”
But that news and reports of stronger growth in lending did little to lift sentiment.
China reported only one new case on Tuesday, but that followed double-digit increases over the previous two days that set off renewed warnings to the public to not to become overconfident.
The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.1% to 2,891.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5% to 24,245.68.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.1% lower to 20,366.48, while South Korea’s Kospi gave up 0.7% to 1,922.17.
An uptick in cases in South Korea has added to concern over the potential for rebounds in new coronavirus infections in places that relax restrictions. More than 100 new cases have been reported that were linked to bars and clubs, more than half of them in the capital, Seoul.