Global Markets Pause Ahead of Earnings, Central Bank Moves -- Update

By Georgi Kantchev and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors took positions ahead of several earnings reports and key central bank moves.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.1% in midmorning trade after lower-than-expected economic numbers, while bourses across Asia finished mostly higher. On Wall Street, futures pointed to a 0.1% opening gain for the S&P 500, reversing from a loss Monday after disappointing earnings.

Investors were focused on the next batch of profit reports, with nearly 200 companies in the S&P 500 on the week's earnings calendar, according to FactSet. Strong results in previous quarters, as well as solid economic growth around the world, have underpinned stock markets and pushed them to record highs.

"It's a busy week for markets but risk assets continue to perform," said Richard Benson, co-head of portfolio investments at $18 billion fund Millennium Global Investments.

Central banks are another focus for investors this week. The European Central Bank is set to announce changes to its massive bond-buying program after its meeting Thursday. Economists expect the ECB to reduce its monthly asset purchases, possibly by half, but also to extend the program for a number of months into 2018.

Investors "need to exercise caution as markets enter a different phase with less central bank support than has been the case over the past decade," said David Simner, portfolio manager at Fidelity International.

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On Tuesday, data firm IHS Markit said its composite Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone--based on survey responses from manufacturers and service providers--fell to 55.9 in October from 56.7 in September. The index still points to solid growth, with 50 separating a rise from a contraction in output.

Also of interest to markets, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to unveil his pick for the new leader of the Federal Reserve within the next 10 days from a roster of candidates that include current Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Late Monday, Mr. Trump said he was "very, very close" to naming his choice.

A hawkish candidate might send U.S. Treasury yields higher and boost the dollar, analysts say. Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose to 2.392% from 2.375%. Yields move inversely to prices.

In currencies, the WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, was up 0.1%. The euro was up 0.1% against the greenback at $1.1761.

In China, the Communist Party congress, which started last week, is due to wrap up this week with President Xi Jinping expected to consolidate his power further through a new lineup of the country's leadership.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished up 0.2%. In Japan, the Nikkei extended its record-setting streak of daily gains to 16 by closing up 0.5%.

Oil futures were down, with the Brent global benchmark falling 0.2% to $57.25 a barrel. Gold was also down, by 0.1%.

Kenan Machado

contributed to this article.

Write to Georgi Kantchev at georgi.kantchev@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 24, 2017 05:00 ET (09:00 GMT)