U.S. equities are back on the defensive
U.S. equities are back on the defensive with the delayed Trump-Xi meeting at the core of investor unease following word yesterday that the trade antagonists were still some distance apart as the March 1 deadline fast approaches. Asian trade-sensitive chip maker and FAANG stocks retreated further, keeping pressure on tech stocks, while a rebound in German exports failed to prop up European sentiment. This left major Asian indices lower, with Japan's N-225 off 2%, the TOPIX banking index -1.8% and the HK Hang Seng reopened -0.16%, though mainland Chinese markets remained closed. In Europe, the majors are off 0.2-0.6%, paced lower by the German DAX. Stateside the Dow shed 100-points, S&P is off 12-points and NASDAQ 50-points lower ahead of the opening clang. So far, 71% of S&P companies have beat, but looking forward IBES/Refinitiv data shows earnings growth is expected to fall from 5.3% to 0.1% for the current quarter. Overnight, Fed dove Bullard warned that the Fed could be "somewhat restrictive" with its current policy stance. Coty +14% beat, Mattel surged +16% after confirming a profit, while Hasbro sank 10% after a revenue miss.