Stocks on Wall Street inched higher on Monday, following a drop in Europe and Asia, as investors remained on edge about the severity of the economic downturn.
The S&P 500 was less than half a percent higher, after recovering from early losses in part because of a rebound in shares of large technology companies.
Markets have been pushed and pulled by two competing ideas lately. Encouraged by the progress made in combating the coronavirus pandemic and hopeful that economies will begin to reopen soon, investors bid stocks sharply higher in April. But that optimism has been undermined as evidence of the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic to employment, corporate profits and the broader economy continues to roll in.
For the last few days, the focus has been on the risks. On Monday, sentiment was hurt by rising tensions between the United States and China.
The Trump administration, under pressure for its own bungles in dealing with the outbreak, has ramped up criticism of China’s response. President Trump said on Sunday that the Chinese government made a “horrible mistake” in its coronavirus response and then orchestrated a cover-up that allowed the pathogen to spread around the world. He has threatened new tariffs on Chinese products in response.
In some global markets, the drop was partly a catch-up to trading on Friday. Stocks in France and Germany, which had been closed Friday, fell more than 3 percent. But the FTSE 100 in Britain, which did trade on Friday, was only slightly lower.