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Market Snapshot: Dow turns higher, S&P 500 flat in afternoon trade as investors gauge China zero-COVID policies and await Powell speech

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U.S. stocks were trading slightly lower in early Tuesday trading, as investors gauged the chances that Beijing may ease its COVID-zero policies which provoked widespread protests over the weekend and added to investor worries about global economic growth.

How are stocks are trading
  • S&P 500
    SPX,
    +0.22%

    declined 4 points, or 0.10% to 3959.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average
    DJIA,
    +0.11%

    declined 59.2 points, or 0.17% to 33,790
  • The Nasdaq Composite
    COMP,
    +3.15%

    dropped 14 points, or 0.13% to 11035

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 498 points, or 1.45%, to 33849, the S&P 500 declined 62 points, or 1.54%, to 3964, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 177 points, or 1.58%, to 11050.

What’s driving markets

Asian stocks recovered Tuesday as unrest across China declined and hopes rose that Beijing might ease Covid-19 restrictions.

See: Some markets cheer as China vows to vaccinate more elderly. Analysts see positive movement by officials.

“Police in China have quashed mass COVID demonstrations for now, helping stocks regain their footing,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Equities, bond yields and industrial commodity prices fell at the start of the week on concerns a wave of anti COVID-lockdown demonstrations would cause a crackdown by Beijing, further hobbling activity in the world’s second biggest economy and slowing global growth.

However, on Tuesday China’s National Health Commission said it would ramp up COVID vaccinations for the elderly, a move that may allow less draconian COVID restrictions to be imposed.

See: China to hold media briefing on COVID policy and boost vaccinations for the elderly

The Hang Seng index
HSI,
+5.24%

in Hong Kong, which fell 1.6% on Monday, surged 5.2%.

“The unrest in China duly weighed on equity indices everywhere yesterday, and some moderately hawkish commentary from FOMC members weighed additionally on the U.S. market,” said Ian Williams, strategist at Peel Hunt.

“However, the mood has brightened considerably through the Asian session after a more encouraging update on COVID cases and speculation that some of the local restrictions may be relaxed,” Williams added.

Copper
HG00,
+1.15%
,
the industrial metal that tends to closely track perceptions of Chinese demand, rose 1.1% to $3.651 a pound, and U.S. crude oil
CL.1,
+2.85%
,
which on Monday hit a near 11-month low, climbed 2.1% to $78.82 a barrel ahead of the OPEC+ meeting this weekend.

Domestically, investors are getting another look at the financial health of consumers going into the holiday season. Shoppers spent $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday deals, according to Adobe
ADBE,
-0.63%
.
That’s a record haul passing the $10.7 spent last year on Cyber Monday sales, according to Adobe. This also follows a record $9.12 billion in online sales during Black Friday, Adobe data shows. But analysts noted that the record sales numbers include the higher prices that consumers are paying as a result of inflation running at a forty year high.

The S&P Case-Shiller U.S. home price index gave a look at America’s housing market, which remains under pressure. The Case-Shiller 20-city price index dropped 1.2 % in September, marking the third straight monthly decline. The consumer confidence index for November will be published at 10 a.m..

Companies in focus
  • Chinese stocks, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
    BABA,
    +5.72%

    and Nio
    NIO,
    +6.67%

    were up in trading Tuesday after Chinese official announced their next steps for handling COVID-19 in the country. Alibaba shares were up more than 6% and shares for the electric car maker Nio were up more than 4%.
  • Royal Bank of Canada
    RY,
    -0.52%

    said Tuesday it reached a deal to acquire HSBC Canada for C$13.5 billion ($10.1 billion) in cash. The deal is expected to close in late 2023, adding a bank that, as of Sept. 30, had $134 billion, approximately 130 branches and 4,200 full-time employees. Shares were down approximately 1% in early trading Tuesday.

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