Global markets end on a mixed note as technology stocks drag Wall Street lower

Disappointing results and weak economic data are adding to fears of a recession

Traders working on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Investors will be watching out for more earnings reports next week, plus the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and the first reading on second-quarter GDP. AP
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Global stock markets ended the week on a mixed note on Friday, with Wall Street being dragged down by disappointing results from technology companies and weak economic data, adding to fears of a recession.

US stocks ended a three-day streak of gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.4 per cent and the S&P 500 losing 0.9 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9 per cent.

Results by Snap, the owner of the Snapchat messaging app, landed like a bombshell, with quarterly losses nearly tripling to $422 million despite revenue increasing 13 per cent under conditions "more challenging" than expected. Its shares plummeted nearly 40 per cent.

The results also weighed on Facebook parent Meta Platforms, which dropped 7.6 per cent, and Google parent Alphabet, which shed 5.8 per cent amid worries over internet advertising.

"Even though results are not great, they have been good enough," said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

"What has helped the markets rebound aside from good enough earnings is the declining inflation expectations."

With 106 of the S&P 500 companies having reported earnings through Friday morning, 75.5 per cent have topped analyst expectations, below the 81 per cent beat rate over the past four quarters, according to Refinitiv data.

European stocks edged back into positive territory. At the close of trading on Friday, London's FTSE 100 and Frankfurt's DAX inched up 0.1 per cent, while the Paris CAC 40 rose 0.3 per cent.

The euro came under pressure after a key survey suggested the single-currency area could be on the verge of recession due to slumping demand and rising costs.

A bigger-than-expected hike in interest rates by the European Central Bank failed to provide a lasting boost to the euro, as political turmoil in Italy also clouds the outlook.

Economic activity in the eurozone plummeted in July, the closely-watched purchasing managers' index, or PMI, showed, with a big drop in manufacturing and consumers' post-lockdown spending sprees braked by high prices.

"The eurozone is teetering on the brink of recession," said Andrew Kenningham, economist at Capital Economics. "The ECB will have to follow up on yesterday's historic rate hike with several more in the coming months even though this will worsen the downturn."

Nevertheless, Paris, Frankfurt and London all edged higher.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.4 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2 per cent. The Shanghai Composite declined 0.1 per cent.

The dollar was on track for its biggest weekly percentage decline in nearly two months, after touching a 20-year high last week.

The Japanese yen strengthened about 1 per cent versus the greenback at 136.05 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2002, up 0.08 per cent on the day.

This week's rally in New York has fuelled hopes the market may be poised for a recovery after a bruising first half of 2022.

But Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, said that while this week's rebound in equities had lasted longer than previous ones, it was on borrowed time.

Investors "will be wary of pushing their luck too hard into next week, given the avalanche of earnings heading their way, plus a [US Federal Reserve interest rate] decision and the first reading on US second quarter GDP".

Oil prices ended the week down on Friday, with Brent, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world's oil, slipping 0.6 per cent to $103.20 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, declining 1.7 per cent to $94.70 a barrel.

Updated: July 23, 2022, 8:05 AM
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