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Stocks, oil prices gain traction; Bitcoin falters

Global stock markets and prices of oil rose on Tuesday as Bitcoin fell to its lowest in almost a month, slumping below $30,000. Wall Street’s main indexes jumped on Tuesday, as economically sensitive stocks staged a comeback after a sharp selloff in the previous session, while International Business Machines (IBM) gained on strong second-quarter results.

All the 11 S&P 500 sectors indexes advanced, with energy , financials and industrials rising more than 2% each.

The move was a sharp reversal from Monday’s trading session where the blue-chip Dow Jones index logged its worst day in nearly nine months on concerns that a surge in Delta variant infections might lead to renewed COVID-19 shutdowns and a protracted economic recovery.

“There should be a normal natural pullback in the market. So we needed a trigger and it was the Delta variant, and it made everyone pause,” said Eric Diton, president and managing director of the Wealth Alliance in New York.

Meanwhile, the second-quarter earnings season began on a strong note, with 91.1% of the 56 S&P 500 companies reporting profits above estimates, as per IBES Refinitiv data. Analysts now expect year-on-year S&P 500 earnings growth of 72.9% for the April-June period.

Shares of IBM climbed 3.5% and was the top gainer on the Dow as brokerages raised their price targets on the stock following robust growth in the blue-chip technology firm’s cloud and consulting businesses.

HCA Healthcare Inc surged 14.1% and was the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500 index after the hospital operator raised its 2021 earnings forecast for the second time, as patient volumes recover.

Focus is now on earnings reports from companies such as Netflix Inc and Chipotle Mexican Grill due later in the day.

At 11:55am, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 583.37 points, or 1.72%, at 34,545.41 and the S&P 500 , set to snap a three-day losing streak, was up 62.91 points, or 1.48%, at 4,321.40.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 195.97 points, or 1.37%, at 14,470.96. The index was on track to break a five-day losing streak.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 5.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3.48-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 32 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 63 new lows.

Stocks and oil prices rose in late European trading Tuesday, scraping back some heavy losses a day earlier over fears that the fast-spreading Delta Covid variant could derail global economic recovery.

Stock indices in London, Frankfurt and Paris ended the day well in the black after spending part of the session hovering near the breakeven point. All three bourses had slumped by more than two percent on Monday.

Asian equities earlier extended losses as the Covid Delta variant continues to cast its shadow over trading floors.

Investors have been rattled in recent weeks by data showing the highly transmissible virus surging across the world, forcing some governments to reimpose containment measures.

Even countries with elevated vaccination rates have seen a big increase in new cases, though observers point out that hospitalisations and deaths are being kept down thanks to the jabs.

The selling has also been blamed on other factors including lingering worries about possible central bank policy tightening as the economy recovers.

In Asia, Tokyo suffered a fifth straight loss Tuesday, and most other leading markets were also well in retreat.

Some commentators however remain broadly upbeat about the outlook.

“Those who have been inoculated should still have good protection against the Delta variant, according to the latest hospitalisation and mortality statistics,” remarked JP Morgan Asset Management’s Tai Hui.

“Hence, the potential risk to economic reopening is manageable, especially in regions or states where vaccination rates are high.”

Oil prices were higher in late European trading after tumbling Monday on slowing demand prospects and after Opec+ crude producers agreed to increase output from next month.

 Bitcoin falls below $30,000: Bitcoin fell on Tuesday to its lowest in almost a month, slumping below $30,000 as regulators continued calls for tighter checks on cryptocurrencies.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 5% to $29,300, its lowest since June 22. It was last down 3.6% at $29,720.

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