European stocks struggle, US futures slip as tech shares weigh

Travel firms gained after the EU announced plans to reopen its borders to tourists

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

European stocks struggled for traction and US futures slipped on Tuesday as technology shares continued to weigh on equities following weakness among sector giants on Wall Street.

The Stoxx 600 Index erased a gain as online food delivery service HelloFresh and semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies dragged the benchmark lower. Travel firms gained after the European Union announced plans to reopen its borders to tourists after months of pandemic-induced restrictions. Shares rose in Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea.

US futures fell after Tesla and Amazon. com weighed on the Nasdaq 100 on Monday. Treasuries slipped alongside most European bonds, while a gauge of commodity prices hovered at the highest level since 2012. Digital token Ether extended its surge to set another record as larger rival Bitcoin slipped.

As the global economic recovery gathers pace thanks to successful vaccine rollouts in much of the developed world, investors nevertheless remain attuned to risks. Inflation is a chief concern, with a gauge of prices paid for materials jumping to the highest since 2008 on Monday. The breadth of the rebound is also in question, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that economic progress has been uneven across racial and income divides.

Meanwhile, fierce new Covid-19 waves are enveloping India and parts of Southeast Asia, placing severe strain on their health-care systems and prompting appeals for help.

“We do believe that inflationary pressures will continue this year and that’s driven by the kind of policy we have seen globally,” Rupal Agarwal, a quantitative strategist at Sanford C Bernstein, said on Bloomberg TV. “In the shorter term you can expect some pullback in the markets but the broader sentiment remains bullish” as the reopening and reflation trade remains in force, she said. – Bloomberg