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U.S. Equity Gains Fade Amid Tech Scrutiny

Wednesday 12th February 2020

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U.S. stocks faded after the Federal Trade Commission asked some of America’s biggest tech companies for information about acquisitions that may have eliminated new competitors. Ten-year Treasury yields rose, while the dollar dropped for the first time in five sessions.

The S&P 500 Index gave up most of the Tuesday session’s gains after the FTC news, with Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. among the decliners. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank as Verizon Communications Inc. slipped following court approval of Sprint’s tie-up with T-Mobile.

Investors had been more bullish lately despite the coronavirus outbreak, signaling some confidence that central banks could ease policy in the event growth slows down. In remarks to Congress Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, while positive about the American economic outlook, said the central bank is keeping a close eye on fallout from the epidemic, which continues to disrupt travel and trade.

“With fundamentals strong, a robust employment situation and inflation on track, Powell’s cautiously optimistic stance isn’t too surprising, especially since coronavirus fears and trade tensions are at bay,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E-Trade Financial. “What remains to be seen is the lasting effect of the coronavirus on global growth, which is already tepid.”

Oil bounced back from Monday’s swoon; gold fell. Bitcoin surged back above $10,000. European and Asian equity benchmarks closed higher.


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