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Markets Stabilize After Worst Fall for Stocks in Months

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U.S. stock futures edged higher Tuesday, after major indexes tumbled Monday on concerns over the spread of Covid-19 variants and potential setbacks to the economic recovery.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%, suggesting a reversal for the blue-chip index that fell more than 700 points Monday in its worst session since October. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also climbed 0.5%, pointing to gains for both the broad-market index and technology stocks.

Investors have grown concerned over the Delta coronavirus variant, prompting a reassessment of the economy’s prospects. Despite this, the three major stock indexes each closed only around 3% down from their all-time highs Monday, underscoring the strength of the rally that powered equity markets in the first half of the year.

“When you get a selloff like we had yesterday, there are certainly going to be some investors who are going to see that as an opportunity to invest for the longer term,” said

Kiran Ganesh,

a multiasset strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Especially where the 10-year [Treasury] yields have gone, that still points to the default position for investors as long equities, because there are simply very few other options.”

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note extended its fall and edged down as low as 1.167%, after dropping to 1.181% Monday in the biggest daily decline since March. Prices rise when yields fall. The WSJ Dollar Index hovered close to its highest level since March.

“There’s no big catalyst, but it’s a combination of factors. There are questions about vaccines, we might still get restrictions on consumer behavior, mobility, this is increasingly back in the market’s mind,” said

James Athey,

an investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “We’re also seeing the summer lull. It’s very quiet so volumes are lower, liquidity is thinner.”

Oil prices also nudged up after tumbling Monday on fears that Covid-19 could curb energy demand again. Brent crude added less than 0.1%, after dropping 6.8% in its worst daily performance since March. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 0.1%, after logging its biggest drop since September.

“We sometimes forget that when we’ve had periods of very strong performance and low volatility, small bumps in the market do feel like they are more than they are,” said Shaniel Ramjee, a multiasset fund manager at Pictet Asset Management.

Earnings season is under way, with tobacco giant

Philip Morris International

and insurance company Travelers Companies scheduled to report ahead of the opening bell.

Netflix,

Chipotle Mexican Grill

and United Airlines are slated to post earnings after markets close.

In premarket trading,

IBM

rose nearly 4% after reporting a rise in revenue driven by its cloud, software and services businesses. Travel stocks also gained.

Delta Air Lines

and

Southwest Airlines

both rose close to 2% and Carnival climbed 2.5%.

Cryptocurrencies extended their declines, with bitcoin dropping below $30,000 Tuesday for the first time in a month. It declined nearly 4% from its level at 5 p.m. ET the previous day, to around $29,600.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4%. Among European equities,

UBS

climbed 3.2% after posting better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter, driven by strong client activity and buoyant markets. Mining giant

BHP Group

fell 2.5% after reporting that output will likely remain flat over the next 12 months.

Travel companies were some of the best performers in European stocks.

Deutsche Lufthansa

rose 2%, German travel company

TUI

added 2.8% and jet engine maker Rolls Royce advanced 3.3%.

In Asia, most major benchmarks extended Monday’s declines. The Shanghai Composite Index lost another 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 0.8%.

A gauge of housing starts in the U.S. in June is set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect a rise, as prices for materials such as lumber eased amid a limited supply of houses on the market.

S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained Tuesday.



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

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