Global financial markets steadied Tuesday, although tech shares remained under pressure following yesterday's sell-off on Wall Street, as investors moved cash into heavyweight stocks and defensive sectors amid renewed concerns over a brewing global trade war and ahead of this week's expected rate increase from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
U.S. equity futures, however, were softer, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked 58 points lower from last night's close, which saw the benchmark fall 335 points, or 1.35%, to erase all of its gains for the year amid a sell-off in tech shares that filtered through to markets all over the world. Contracts tied to the broader S&P 500 were seen 4.75 points, or 0.17%, to the downside in early European trading while those linked to the tech-focused Nasdaq were marked 33.25 points lower following yesterday's 1.84% decline.
Facebook Inc.'s (FB) 6.77% Monday slump, the biggest in four years, dragged the S&P 500 tech subindex 2.1% lower yesterday and continues to hang over markets as investors worry that lawmakers in Europe and the United States could react to news that it allowed backdoor access to a controversial political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, to around 50 million users with stricter rules on data and privacy that could slow its advertising revenue growth.
Shares looks set to extend that decline in four years Tuesday following reports that its chief security officer is set to leave the company and the airing of a damaging exposé of the firm linked to the biggest data scandal in the history of social media.
Facebook shares were marked 1.31% lower in pre-market trading in New York Tuesday, indicating an opening bell price of $170.30 each, a move that would take its year-to-date decline to around 3.46%.
Oracle Corporation (ORCL) shares were also indicated sharply lower in pre-market trading Tuesday after the business software group posted weaker-than-expected sales for its fiscal third quarter as revenues from its newly-developed cloud computing division missed Wall Street forecasts. Oracle shares fell 9.09% from their Monday close in pre-market trading, indicating an opening bell price of $47.23 per share, a move that would wipe out all of the stock's year-to-date gains and drop it to the lowest level since the February market correction.
Investors are also eyeing developments in the tit-for-tat trade war that is slowly brewing between the United States and its major allies, with reports that President Donald Trump may reveal $60 billion in targeted tariffs on China this week aimed at addressing long-term concerns that its violated rules on intellectual property.
European stocks opened firmer, led by big-name energy and financial sector stocks that helped take Britain's FTSE 100 benchmark 0.2% higher and lifted markets on the Continent across the board. HSBC Plc (HSBC) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , BP plc (BP) and Allianz SE (AZSEY) were some of the benchmark heavyweights leading advancers in early trading. Germany's DAX performance index gained 0.12% by mid-morning.
Overnight in Asia, the U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was modestly stronger at 89.90 while 10-year Treasury note yields held at 2.86%. Benchmark 2-year Treasury note yields, however, added 2 basis points from yesterday to trade at 2.316% as investors anticipate not only a Wednesday rate increase from the Fed, which would take the central bank's key rate to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, but also the potential signalling of three more hikes before the end of the year.
Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark slipped 0.5% by the close of trading, held down by tech shares and a stronger yen, to close at 21,380.97 points and notch it second consecutive session decline. The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index, meanwhile, edged 0.11% higher on the strength of a stronger session for the KOSPI in South Korea (+0.4%) and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (+0.11%).