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Wall Street points lower as investors hunker down

NEW YORK — U.S. markets pointed toward more losses Wednesday due to emerging global events and gloomy financial reports from both governments and corporations.

Futures for the Down Industrial Average and the S&P 500 declined 0.5% following mixed trading in Asia and Europe.

Investors remain on edge about inflation-fighting interest rate hikes in the United States and elsewhere, as well as Russia’s war on Ukraine and a Chinese economic slowdown.

On Tuesday, most U.S. benchmarks sank on weak U.S. housing sales data and a profit warning by the social media messaging company Snap, which owns Snapchat.

“The overall mood in equity markets remains largely downbeat,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said.

The Federal Reserve releases the minutes on Wednesday from its most recent policy meeting, potentially offering more insight into the reasons behind its actions this year.

Also on Wednesday, there was an increasingly downcast view of the months ahead from corporate leaders, government officials and other VIPs gathered at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is seen as a significant threat, setting back the global economic recovery from the pandemic, economists say.

In midday trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.3%, Frankfurt’s DAX slipped 0.1% and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.2%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 3,107.46 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3% to 26,677.80. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3% to 20,171.27.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.4% to 2,617.22 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4% to 7,155.20.

India’s Sensex gave up 0.2% to 53,926.64. New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta declined while Bangkok advanced.

Investors dumped social media stocks on Tuesday, with Snap plummeting 43.1%, its biggest single-day drop ever. Facebook parent Meta slumped 7.6%. Google’s parent Alphabet fell 5.1%.

The S&P is down 18% from its Jan. 3 high, putting it on the brink of a bear market, or a 20% decline from the previous top.

Wall Street is trying to avoid an eighth straight losing week.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.37 to $111.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 52 cents on Tuesday to $109.77. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced $1.12 to $111.81 per barrel in London. It rose 14 cents the previous session to $113.56.

The dollar gained to 126.98 yen from Tuesday’s 126.82 yen. The euro declined to $1.0664 from $1.0693.

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