Stocks start lower, threatening a four-day losing streak, as investors seek new triggers to drive the market higher including a potential U.S.-China trade deal and tomorrow’s jobs report; S&P -0.5%, Dow and Nasdaq both -0.6%.
The European Central Bank cut its 2019 economic growth forecast to 1.1% from prior guidance of 1.7% and left key interest rates unchanged while unveiling a new round of stimulus to help banks in the region.
“They’re basically admitting the economy is quite soft” in Europe, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “This adds to one thing: uncertainty.”
European bourses remain slightly lower, with France’s CAC -0.1%, Germany’s DAX -0.2% and U.K.’s FTSE -0.3%; in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei -0.6%but China’s Shanghai Composite +0.1%.
In earnings news, Kroger -12.8% after missing top and bottom-line estimates and guiding FY 2020 earnings below consensus.
Among the S&P 500 sectors, financials (-1%), materials (-0.7%) and consumer discretionary (-0.6%) are particularly weak in early trade, while utilities (+0.9%) and real estate (+0.5%) are the only groups with gains.
U.S. Treasury prices are higher, driving the two-year and 10-year yields down 3 bps each to 2.48% and 2.66%, respectively; the U.S. Dollar Index Index +0.4% to 97.29 amid weakness in the euro, which is down because of Europe’s weak growth outlook.
U.S. WTI crude oil +0.8% at $56.67/bbl.