Stocks sank on Tuesday, set to open in the red after surprisingly weak Chinese trade data and a warning about US bank health sent shivers through markets.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell about 0.5%, or 180 points. Meanwhile, those on the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were both down around 0.5%.
Optimism for a global economic recovery that could lift stocks took a hit Tuesday, after data showed a slump in Chinese imports and exports in July that was far worse than expected. The grim numbers signal that demand is still faltering, dimming the prospects for a rebound in the world’s second-biggest economy.
Also dampening spirits was a Moody’s downgrade of 10 small and midsize US banks, which came with a warning it could lower credit ratings for some of the nation’s biggest lenders. It flagged risks in their commercial real estate portfolios, a potential signs of stress in the sector that has been closely watched since the banking crisis earlier this year.
Meanwhile, bank stocks in Europe tumbled after the Italian government said it will put a 40% windfall tax on lenders’ profits, raising fears that other countries could do the same. The reaction wiped $10 billion off the market value of banks.
Those doubts about economic health are emerging as investors wait for the release of the July inflation report on Thursday, looking for a steer on whether the Federal Reserve will put its interest rate hikes on pause again.
Another batch of earnings reports is due to roll in, which could shed more light on how Corporate America is doing. Results from UPS (UPS), Eli Lilly (LLY), Restaurant Brands (QSR) and Fox Corp (FOXA) are among the highlights.