Wall Street stocks mixed amid US-China tensions

Investors fear a revival of a US-China trade war that could add to the headwinds facing the US economy following the hit from coronavirus shutdowns. — Reuters pic
Investors fear a revival of a US-China trade war that could add to the headwinds facing the US economy following the hit from coronavirus shutdowns. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, May 29 — Wall Street stocks were mixed early today amid rising US-China tensions as data showed a big drop in consumption spending in April but a rise in income boosted by government aid.

About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,345.84, down 0.2 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1 per cent to 3,028.39 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent at 9,418.15.

After rising earlier in the week, markets have shown more caution since US President Donald Trump announced a press conference for this afternoon focusing on China following Beijing’s move to tighten its authority over Hong Kong, a key financial centre.

Investors fear a revival of a US-China trade war that could add to the headwinds facing the US economy following the hit from coronavirus shutdowns.

Data showed US personal consumption plunged a record 13.6 per cent in April, while personal income shot up 10.5 per cent due to the surge in government aid and unemployment payments under US emergency spending measures.

Meanwhile, consumer sentiment gained slightly from March, but remains at its lowest since December 2012, according to the University of Michigan survey. However, confidence in the economic outlook ahead dropped sharply.

Among individual companies, Williams Sonoma surged 11.9 per cent as it reported a surprise profit despite having all its stores shuttered for more than half the quarter. With much of the US stuck at home under quarantine orders, online sales of cooking equipment surged.

Salesforce.com fell 4.7 per cent following a disappointing forecast as the software giant reported a drop in first-quarter profits.

Today’s agenda also includes an appearance by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell organised by Princeton University. — AFP

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