Stocks take a breather, bonds under Biden pressure

  • January 12, 2021

    Shares were mixed on Tuesday as investors paused to assess how much worse the COVID-19 pandemic could get while waiting for a new earnings season on Wall Street to inject fresh direction.

    U.S. bonds remained under pressure, with yields building on their 10-month highs, though not yet at levels that make them more attractive than stocks, analysts said.

    Blue chip indices in London, Paris and Frankfurt were little changed in early trading on Tuesday. European shares hit their highest levels in 10 months last week but had eased on Monday.

    Oil majors BP (NYSE:BP), Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) and Total gained as crude prices rose on expectations of a drawdown in U.S. stockpiles.

    “It’s a little bit of a pause for reflection after getting off to an absolute flyer this year,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

    “The main focus now is how much worse can it get in respect to COVID in the UK and Europe, and is China starting to see evidence of a second wave,” Hewson added.

    There was little in the way of major corporate earnings news or key economic data as markets waited for the new earnings season on Wall Street, with banks JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Citi and Wells Fargo (NYSE:) reporting on Friday.

    “The big takeaway from those will be, how much more will they set aside in terms of loan-loss provision, as they were quite heavy in 2020, and how many of the U.S. banks restart buybacks and dividends,” Hewson said.

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