Stocks – Wall Street Opens Mixed; Walmart Supports Ahead of Powell Testimony

This post was originally published on this site — U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Tuesday, with tech stocks outperforming after a recent battering due to concerns about worsening relations between the U.S. and China, while the broader market was supported by stronger-than-expected earnings from retail giant Walmart (NYSE:WMT).

By 10:15 AM ET (1415 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 61 points, or 0.3%, at 24,536 points. The S&P 500 was essentially unchanged, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.6%.

The market was largely in wait-and-see mode ahead of testimony in the Senate from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The two men have differed publicly in recent day about the need for further fiscal stimulus, with Mnuchin eager to sit back and see how much effect the measures already taken will have, while Powell said the recovery may take “longer than we would like” in the absence of further support measures.

Among individual stocks, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) stock fell 1.6% after missing forecasts for earnings per share by just under 10% in the three months through April. The company’s bottom line suffered as lockdown restrictions forced it to spend more on staff, while also limiting the number of visitors to stores.  Home Depot, which depends to a large extent on the overall state of the housing market, wasn’t helped by the announcement – albeit not a surprise – that housing starts fell by more than 25% last month to their lowest since 2014.

Walmart  (NYSE:WMT) stock rose 2.0%, however, after it posted better-than-expected earnings thanks to record high online sales that were to a large degree the result of consumer stockpiling of essentials.

Elsewhere, airlines showed signs of life after reporting that current business was picking up from the immediate aftermath of lockdown restrictions. Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) stock rose 1.7% after the company said new bookings have outpaced cancellations so far this month, while United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) stock rose 0.4% after saying it expects its July scheduled capacity to rise to 25% of last year’s level, from an almost non-existent 10% in May.

And Moderna  (NASDAQ:MRNA), which surged on Monday after announcing positive preliminary test data for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, took advantage of that spike to raise just under $1.4 billion in fresh capital by selling 7.6 million shares at a price of $76 each. The placement was absorbed without any stress, with Moderna stock falling only 2.7% to $77.85.

In other markets, crude oil moved higher again after a brief consolidation. U.S. crude futures were up 1.6% at $32.16 a barrel, having earlier hit a two-month high of $32.91.

Gold Futures rose 0.4% to $1,740.60 an ounce. 

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