By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Monday, still supported by Friday’s robust employment report, but with an element of caution in the air after reports of Russian atrocities in Ukraine and extended Covid-19 lockdowns in China raised the prospect of stiffer sanctions and a bigger, longer drag on the world economy.
By 9:40 AM ET, were down 185 points, or 0.5% at 34,633 points. The was down less than 0.1% but the was up 0.6%.
The Nasdaq was supported by a surge in Twitter (NYSE:)’s stock price, after Tesla (NASDAQ:) CEO Elon Musk in the social media company. Musk has criticised Twitter in the past for suppressing free speech, and while his initial stake-building was described as ‘passive’, analysts speculated that he will push new CEO Parag Agarwal to loosen its content moderation policy. Musk is an active user of Twitter himself, but was forced to pay $40 million to settle SEC charges that he used the social media to mislead investors in 2018.
Twitter stock rose 23% to a four-month high, while Tesla stock fell 0.5% after the electric vehicle maker was forced to extend the shutdown of its Shanghai plant for a second week due to mass Covid-19 testing. Tesla reported a new record quarter for deliveries over the weekend despite what Musk called “exceptional” difficulties.
Musk makes his move at a time when one aspiring challenger to Twitter is having difficulties. Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:), the SPAC which merged with former President Donald Trump’s new social media venture Truth Social, fell 8.9% after a report saying that two key executives had left the company. Truth Social, which aimed to give a platform to conservative voices, has struggled to gain traction, failing to meet self-imposed deadlines for the launch of an app for the Android operating system. The ex-president, meanwhile, appears reluctant to develop a presence on the network until it has proved itself viable, Reuters reported at the weekend.
Elsewhere, fresh economic data reinforced impressions that consumer spending is reverting to its pre-pandemic pattern. Spending on excluding the defense sector fell by 2.6% in February, after a 2.7% fall in January. Data last week showed that spending on consumer services was buoyant, while the hospitality sector added more jobs than any other in March.
Elsewhere, Chinese ADRs advanced broadly after the country published new draft rules at the weekend that would allow foreign regulators greater access to data previously kept off-limits. The news reduces the risk of the Securities and Exchanges Commission delisting the likes of Alibaba (NYSE:), Baidu (NASDAQ:) or Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:). Alibaba ADRs gained 3.4% while Pinduoduo ADRs gained 8.8% and Baidu 5.8%.
In other news, Starbucks (NASDAQ:) stock fell 5.1% after chairman Howard Schulz as he returned to the CEO’s seat. is facing revenue pressure from the closure of many Chinese outlets due to lockdowns, as well as rising cost pressures from labor and other inputs in its home market.
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