- Dow falls, S&P 500
and Nasdaq rise
- Alcoa in focus ahead of Q1 earnings later on
- Ukraine concerns dampen sentiment
- IMF cuts global growth forecast
Dow Jones: -0.04%
S&P 500: 0.11%
US stocks were trading in a mixed fashion on Tuesday morning after a three-day losing streak, fluctuating between gains and losses ahead of the start of the first-quarter earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.04% after the opening bell, the S&P 500 rose 0.11%, but the Nasdaq was 0.4% higher, rebounding after the tech-heavy index's worst three-day skid since November 2011.
High-growth 'momentum' stocks have been under heavy selling pressure over recent days as investors rotated out of names that have performed the best in the bull market on concerns that valuations are too expensive.
Aluminium producer Alcoa is set to unofficially kick off earnings season after the closing bell this evening. Bed, Bath & Beyond will report its results on Wednesday while earnings from banking heavyweights JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co are due out on Friday.
According to Thomson Reuters, average earnings on the S&P 500 are expected to have risen by an annual rate of just 1.1% in the first quarter, compared with the average forecast for 6.5% growth at the start of the year. This is thought to be mainly attributable to the severe winter weather across the US at the beginning of the quarter.
Tuesday is set to be a quiet day in New York in terms of economic data, although speeches from a few Federal Reserve officials will be in focus later on.
Heightened tensions in Ukraine were a concern for global financial markets today after pro-Moscow protesters stormed government buildings and called for their own referendum on independence. Ukraine's government has accused Russia of instigating the protests, while a White House spokesman said that "outside forces, not local forces, were participating on the effort to create these provocations".
Investors were also digesting comments today from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which released its World Economic Outlook, saying the global economic recovery "has broadly strengthened". The IMF trimmed its global growth forecast from 3.7% to 3.6% for 2014, but said that developed economies such as the US and UK were making up for weaker recoveries in emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia.
Eli Lilly, Nordic American Tankers
Eli Lilly & Co slumped as the federal-court jury found that the group, together with Takeda Pharmaceutical hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine.
Nordic American Tankers retreated as the ship owner said it is offering 10m shares
in a public offering to finance the potential acquisition of as many as four vessels.
Gigamon dropped after the company cut its first-quarter preliminary revenue forecast to below analysts' projections.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May delivery were 0.6% higher at $101.07 a barrel.
The yield on a benchmark US 10-year Treasury was up one basis point at 2.71%.