Global markets are down

Major global markets and US stock futures were weaker on Tuesday after some ugly news out of China.

Near 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow futures were down 122 points, S&P 50 futures were down 14 points, and Nasdaq futures were down 33 points — all by less than 1%. On Monday, stocks rose steadily into the close with the Dow finishing up 117 points.

To catch you up on the big markets news so far:

  • Chinese manufacturing data showed the sector slowed in April. UK manufacturing also contracted, as the PMI fell below 50 for the first time in three years.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 1.75%. That sent the Australian dollar down as much as 1% against the US dollar.

European stocks dropped following the news out of China, with the Stoxx Europe 600 falling by as much as 1.7%. And so, “China concerns” is an explanation we’re starting to see again for the sell-off on Tuesday.

The Dax was also down 1.7%, while the Nikkei fell 3.1%.

The US economic-data calendar is light. Auto sales numbers for April will roll in throughout the day, and they’re expected to show a rebound after an unexpected dip in March.

This would reassure economists that consumer confidence and spending on big-ticket items remains robust, following a record year for car sales.

In earnings, Halliburton reported a bigger-than-forecast loss of $2.41 billion, or $2.81 per share. The world’s second-largest oilfield services company was slammed with nearly $3 billion in asset impairment charges, among others. The company delayed its earnings from last week as it tried to finalise the now-squashed acquisition of Baker Hughes.

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