- Dow, S&P and Nasdaq have been rising
- New figures from China rattle nerves
- IMF downgrades global growth expectations
Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Tuesday, the last four sessions have seen it close higher. The index of blue-chip stocks saw a 3% hike last week, while the S&P 500 rose by 2.9% and the Nasdaq increased by 2.7%.
However, stocks traded lower as new warnings on global economic growth rattled investors and figures from The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut back on its previous forecasts for the world economy.
On Monday, official Chinese data indicated that a slowdown in both domestic demand and export growth led to a corresponding decrease in pace for the country’s economy, making last year’s figures the worst for nearly 30 years.
This development came after Beijing took measures to cut pollution by regulating building and emissions. As the world’s biggest exporter, China also continues to suffer from the bad state of trade relations with the U.S., which currently shows few signs of short-term improvement.
The International Monetary Fund has also made changes to its own forecasts for world economy growth, the second in three months. Citing concerns over ongoing trade conflicts between Washington and Beijing and slowing European activity, the IMF said it expects the world economy to grow at a rate of 3.5% this year – a downgrade of 0.2 percentage points from previous estimates. It also announced that it expects the figure to be 3.6% in 2020, which is 0.1% lower than it had stated before.
However, the picture is far from settled. Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Halliburton, have seen stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Johnson & Johnson beat its Q4 earnings estimate and expects 2019 sales of around $81 billion, while Halliburton topped Wall Street forecasts by earning earned 41 cents a share, which is 4 cents more than predicted.