U.S. Stocks Poised to Inch Higher

By Riva GoldFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

German 10-year bund yield climbs to 0.4%

-- Stock markets in Europe and Asia extend losses

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-- Tech companies remain under pressure

U.S. stocks were poised to inch higher Wednesday following their biggest daily drop in over a month, while the euro and government bond yields were choppy as investors reassessed the course of eurozone monetary policy.

Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening gain for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, brushing off a mixed session overseas.

The Stoxx Europe 600 followed Asian markets lower amid weakness in the technology sector, but pared losses to trade down just 0.1% by early afternoon. Investors were reassessing a speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi Tuesday that many interpreted as suggesting that the bank might start winding down its massive stimulus program in response to a pickup in the eurozone economy.

After rising to its highest level in a year earlier Wednesday, the euro fell 0.1% to $1.1330 in the early afternoon following media reports suggesting the ECB thought market participants over-interpreted Tuesday's speech.

Investors sold government bonds this week amid worries their value might fall if the central bank starts reducing its massive bond-buying program sooner than expected. Yields on 10-year German bunds fell to 0.357% from as high as 0.406% earlier in the day but remained well above where they started the week, while Treasury yields traded at 2.226% from 2.198% Tuesday. Yields move inversely to prices.

"The speech [from Mr. Draghi] seemed to mark a transition from the 'whatever it takes' period to 'it will take less' and a potential slow turning point in the direction of travel toward tighter policy," said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Meanwhile in markets, technology shares led declines in Europe and Asia following losses in their U.S. counterparts on Tuesday. Korea's Kospi's IT subindex slid 2.3% while Taiwan's Taiex was off 1.2%, echoing the selloff in U.S. technology companies.

After double-digit percentage gains in U.S. tech shares so far this year, "Everybody remembers the [year] 2000 slipping of the tech sector," said Jae Yoon, chief investment officer at New York Life Investment Management. "But I have no concerns about tech valuations," he said, noting that in terms of price-to-earnings metrics, the sector is trading much closer in line to the S&P 500 than it did at its peak.

Analysts also said Senate Republicans' decision to delay a vote on their health-care overhaul added to investors' doubts about President Donald Trump's ability to push through other policies such as a tax shake-up, weighing down stock markets.

"As each day goes by, it's clearer that maybe not much is going to get done...companies where Wall Street analysts have factored in tax cuts into their numbers look a bit vulnerable," said Phil Smeaton, chief investment officer at Sanlam.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.5% but higher sovereign-debt yields supported shares of Japanese insurers which are heavy buyers of such securities.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7% helped by gains in banks and resources companies following a recovery in iron-ore futures and base metals prices.

Ese Erheriene contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 28, 2017 09:22 ET (13:22 GMT)