European Markets are called to open negative this morning.
Asian stocks fell, sinking the region’s benchmark index for the third day in four, as lower profit forecasts fueled concern that a slowing global economic recovery will crimp earnings.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. led chipmakers lower after Applied Materials Inc., the world’s largest producer of chipmaking equipment, forecast third-quarter profit and sales that missed analyst estimates. Austal Ltd., an Australian shipbuilder, plunged 9.3 percent in Sydney after lowering its full-year earnings forecast. Toyota Motor Corp. led carmakers higher after a report predicted auto production will recover from the country’s March earthquake.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4 percent to 131.22 as of 2:05 p.m. in Tokyo, reversing an earlier gain of as much as 0.4 percent. About two stocks fell for each that gained on the gauge, which last week slid for a third straight week as Greece’s debt crisis intensified, Japan’s economy contracted, and disappointing U.S. economic data fueled concern about the global recovery.
“Issues like the softening growth rate of business activity and Europe’s debt problems have prompted investors to look for reasons to sell,” said Angus Gluskie, who manages about $350 million at White Funds Management Pty. in Sydney. “Long-term investors are sitting on the sidelines and short-term traders are selling into the market. It’s opening up some good value in many stocks, and I suspect we’ll see buying start to emerge.”
Investors are on edge as they face a series of headwinds that just don’t seem to be going away: a slowing U.S. recovery, European debt problems and the end of the Federal Reserve’ bond-buying program.
All of that means that “gains will be harder to come by,” warned Bob Doll, BlackRock chief equity strategist, in a recent client note. On the bright side, the uptrend will continue, “but at a more challenged pace,” he added.
It’ already been a choppy week and it’ only Tuesday. After getting hammered in the previous session, stocks were struggling to recover.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) slipped 25 points, or 0.2%, with GE (GE, Fortune 500) and American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) pressuring the blue chip index. Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), which got a boost from oil prices, were among the biggest gainers on the Dow.
Crude prices rose nearly 2% to close just under $100 a barrel. The spike came after Goldman Sachs boosted its forecast for Brent oil — the European benchmark — to $120 a barrel by year’ end.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) lost 13 points, or 0.5%, and the S&P 500 (SPX) lost 1 point, or 0.1%.
May has been especially rough for the stock market. The Dow and S&P 500 have both lost more than 3%, and the Nasdaq has tumbled 4% since the start of the month
Events this week
Wednesday: Before the market opens, earnings are due from Costco (COST, Fortune 500), Polo Ralph Lauren (RL, Fortune 500) and luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL).
A report on durable orders in April is also out in the morning.
Thursday: Wall Street will get a second reading on the U.S.’ first-quarter gross domestic product. Economists expect economic growth to be revised to 2%, up from the initial estimate of 1.8%.
The weekly report on people filing for initial jobless claims is also due in the morning. Claims are expected to have fallen to 400,000 in the latest week, from 409,000 the previous week.
Also on tap: quarterly financial results from Tiffany & Co. and Sony.
Friday: Before the start of trading, investors will get data on personal income and spending for April. Economists expect income edged up 0.4% last month, while spending increased 0.5%.
Shortly after the opening bell, the University of Michigan will put out its final reading on consumer sentiment in May. Economists
expect the figure to remain unchanged at 72.4.
National Association of Realtors is expected to show a 1.8% decline in pending home sales for the month of March.