A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 25, 2019. Asian shares were mixed Thursday after U.S. stocks closed lower, giving back some of its gains a day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Disappointing 3M earnings weigh on Wall Street ahead of bell

April 25, 2019 - 8:45 am

LONDON (AP) — Disappointing earnings from 3M, the maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics, is weighing on stocks ahead of Wall Street's open Thursday. The failure of two projected mergers in Europe dented market sentiment, too.

St. Paul Minnesota-based 3M said it plans to cut 2,000 jobs globally as part of a restructuring due to a slower-than-expected 2019 and part of a cost-cutting effort. 3M also lowered its full-year earnings guidance, now foreseeing 2019 adjusted earnings in a range of $9.25 to $9.75 per share. Its prior outlook was for $10.45 to $10.90 per share.

3M Co. earned $2.23 per share in the first quarter, when adjusted for one-time costs. That missed the $2.50 per share that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were looking for.

Its shares tumbled 8.3% before the market open and its earnings statement weighed on Dow futures, which were down 0.6%.

"The U.S. index is facing a 170-point slide when the bell rings on Wall Street, the main issue being a disastrous update from Post-It producer 3M," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.

Earnings season is in full flow and investors are looking to the corporate reports for direction in stock markets.

Shares in Europe were knocked by news that two potential mergers won't be going ahead. In the U.K., regulators blocked Sainsbury's 7.3 billion-pound ($9.4 billion) purchase of Walmart's Asda unit amid concerns the deal would have increased prices and reduced the quality and range of products available. For Walmart, it's another setback in its effort to export its low-price strategy around the world. Sainsbury's share price was down 5%.

And in Germany, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank said they were halting talks on a possible merger that aimed to create a stronger global banking player, saying it would be too risky and costly. Deutsche Bank's share price was down only 0.1% while Commerzbank's fell 2.2%.

France's CAC 40 index fell 0.2% to 5,564 while Germany's DAX slipped 0.1% to 12,300. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.5% to 7,433.

The Shanghai Composite index lost 2.4% to 3,123.83, while in the smaller bourse in Shenzhen, the benchmark sank 3.4%.

Investors in China appeared discouraged by signs the central bank plans to avoid major stimulus moves amid signs the economy is stabilizing.

State media reported that the People's Bank of China's latest injection of liquidity showed the use of target support rather than what the Xinhua News Agency described as a "scattergun approach."

"Authorities have taken a more nuanced approach to monetary and fiscal support, with targeted steps to reduce the financing costs of small and private businesses, expand effective investment and encourage domestic consumption," it said.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 bucked the downtrend, gaining 0.5% to 22,307.58. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5% to 2,190.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 0.9% to 29,549.80, while Australia's markets were closed for Anzac Day, a national holiday. India's Sensex edged 0.1% lower and Taiwan gained 0.1%. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 18 cents to $66.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has been climbing recently since dropping below $43 in late December. Brent crude gained 56 cents to $75.13 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.3% to $1.1122 while the dollar dropped 0.3% to 111.85 yen.

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