U.S. Stocks Mixed as Banks Post Strong Earnings: Markets Wrap

by Eric Weiner - April 12, 2017, 5:37 PM CDT April 13, 2017, 9:32 AM CDT

Bloomberg News

U.S. stocks halted two days of losses as stronger-than-forecast earnings from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. helped boost shares of financial companies. The dollar was little changed and Treasury bonds lower in the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments on currencies and interest rates.

The S&P 500 Index was flat at 2,344.72 at 10:31 a.m. in New York, while the Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 0.06 percent to 20,58.6450. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after falling below its 200-day moving average on Wednesday. U.S. Treasury yields were steady, but European bonds gained across the board. The falling yields battered lenders, who led the retreat as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid.

Big moves in the aftermath of Trump’s remarks, which also signaled a softening stance on China’s currency practices and took in the future of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, added momentum to a jump in volatility across global stock markets. After weeks of relative calm, traders are attempting to get a handle on the president’s unpredictable interventions, rising geopolitical risks, the end of easy central bank cash and key elections in Europe.

“Markets look distracted by a whole bunch of contradictory bluster,” Bill Blain, a strategist at Mint Partners in London, wrote in a note. “Let’s not forget we’re facing four days of closed markets. Most institutional investors and the banks have already bedded down their positions ahead of the holidays.”

Lower volumes in the shorter trading week before Easter may have compounded the swings as well. The bond market closes at 2 p.m. in New York on Thursday.

Here’s what investors are watching:

  • With JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo & Co. reporting earnings, analysts will be asking about the slowdown in commercial loan growth as well as the state of consumer lending amid worries over high levels of student and auto loans.
  • Many markets will be closed tomorrow for the Easter holiday weekend.

Read our Markets Live blog here.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was up slightly, paring an earlier slide of as much as 0.3 percent. 
  • The yen fell 0.1 percent to 109.20 per dollar.
  • The euro was 0.3 percent lower at 1.0630, falling for the first time in four days.

Stocks

  • The Nasdaq 100 Index rose 0.32 percent, while the Russell 2000 Index was essentially flat.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.4 percent.

Bonds

  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose two basis points to 2.26 percent, after dropping six basis points yesterday to the lowest closing level since Nov. 16.

  • German 10-year yields dropped two basis points to 0.18 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate rose 0.36 percent to $53.30 a barrel. It fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday as a government report showed U.S. output expanded to the highest level in more than a year, countering a decline in stockpiles from a record.
  • Gold was up 0.53 percent to $1,2894.90 an ounce, climbing to the highest level in five months.