US open: Mixed start to trading as Senate testimony on Covid-19 begins
US stocks turned in a mixed performance at the bell on Tuesday as market participants took a moment to catch their breath following Monday's sharp rally.
As of 1555 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.43% at 24,491.21, while the S&P 500 was up just 0.01% at 2,954.09 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.62% stronger at 9,291.76.
The Dow opened 106.16 points lower on Tuesday, cutting into the previous session's 911.95 point gain after Jerome Powell said he was optimistic of the US economy's ability to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic and some positive data from Moderna Therapeutics' second phase clinical trial on a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus both lifted sentiment.
Tuesday's main focus was testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin on the coronavirus' economic impact, which began before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs at 1500 BST.
Mnuchin said the White House was "fully prepared to take losses" on coronavirus business bailouts.
On the macro front, new home construction in the States fell rapidly last month as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the nation.
According to the Department of Commerce, the annualised rate of housing starts dropped at a month-on-month pace of 30.2% to hit 891,000. Consensus had been for a reading of 950,000.
However, permits for new work, considered a lead indicator for activity in the sector, also fell 30.2% against March to 1.07m (consensus: 1.0m).
Still to come, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will speak at 1900 BST.
In the corporate space, Home Depot shares were down in early trading after revealing that last quarter net income had dropped 10.7% due to Covid-19 related costs, while Walmart shares were up at the bell on the back of a surge in first-quarter e-commerce sales.