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Wall Street set to fall off record highs as Chinese stocks sink

Kitco News

(Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to retreat from record highs on Monday as locally listed Chinese firms tumbled on tighter regulations in the mainland, marking a poor start to a week packed with tech earnings and a Federal Reserve meeting.

China last week announced sweeping new rules on private tutoring and online education firms, the latest in a series of crackdowns on the technology sector that have roiled financial markets this year.

E-commerce major Alibaba Group and search engine Baidu Inc, two of the largest listed Chinese stocks in the United States, slipped more than 3% each in premarket trade.

Ride-sharing app Didi Global, whose takedown earlier this month had brought Chinese regulatory concerns back to the fore, sank 10.7%.

A two-day meeting of the Fed starting on Tuesday will also be watched by investors for more clues on the central bank's planned tightening of monetary policy, given that inflation has been accelerating sharply in recent months.

The S&P 500 has tended to perform poorly in weeks with a Fed meeting this year due to fears that the central bank could signal an earlier-than-anticipated trimming of its massive stimulus program.

"The Fed is not going to be explicit in its language and the market is going to pay more keen attention to the more local voices from the Fed to get a better idea on the interest rate cycle," said Sean O'Hara, president at Pacer ETFs.

"If we start seeing any signs of a less supportive Fed, it'll be a cause for concern."

S&P 500 E-minis were down 0.16% at 4,396 points at 08:04 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were down 79 points, or 0.23%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 15 points, or 0.1%.

Wall Street had ended at record highs last week, as a strong earnings season helped offset concerns over the economic impact of a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

120 of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported earnings as of Friday, of which 88% had beaten consensus, according to Refinitiv data.

"Everybody is expecting earnings to be robust mainly due to easy comparables from last year, and if that trend were to change, it would definitely be a negative for markets," O'Hara said.

Heavyweight technology stocks, including Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp, are set to report their earnings this week.

Among major earnings on Monday, toymaker Hasbro Inc rose 4.4% after it posted a better-than-expected 54% jump in quarterly revenue.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc rose 1.1% ahead of its second-quarter earnings report after the market closes.

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