By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. stock markets edged lower in early trade on Monday, pulling back from record-high weekly closes on Friday as the market braces for the onslaught of first-quarter earnings.
The market shrugged off comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell broadcast at the weekend, in which he saw the U.S. economy at an ‘inflection point’ ahead of a sharp pickup in economic activity and – more importantly from the Fed’s perspective – hiring.
By 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the was down 27 points, or 0.1%, while the was down in parallel and the was underperforming slightly with a drop of 0.3%.
Prominent among early movers was Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:) stock, which rose 18% after an announcement that it has agreed to be bought by Microsoft (NASDAQ:) for $19.7 billion, including debt. The acquisition of the voice recognition software specialist will be Microsoft’s biggest in five years. Microsoft stock was up 0.1%.
Alibaba ADRs (NYSE:) rose 7.8% after it told investors that it doesn’t expect any further material impacts from Chinese antitrust regulators, in the wake of the $2.8 billion fine levied on the company at the weekend.
The fine was the result of an investigation into the abuse of its dominant market position, and had been seen as a broader proxy for relations between the Communist Party and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Under Chinese law, the fine could have been over twice as large. The actual outturn was at the bottom end of analysts’ expectations.
Uber (NYSE:) stock rose 2.7% after saying that gross bookings for its ride-hailing services in March were at their highest since the pandemic began, while also indicating continued strength in its delivery business. Neither business is profitable yet.
Tesla (NASDAQ:) stock meanwhile rose 2.4% on the back of an upbeat report by Canaccord Genuity that talked up the prospects of the company’s energy storage capabilities in the context of a grid that is coming to depend on more variable and unpredictable sources of power.
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