Wall Street retreats a day after S&P 500 returned to break-even for the year.
Stocks fell on Tuesday, pulling back after a string of gains that had lifted Wall Street by 6 percent this month.
The S&P 500 closed down less than 1 percent. Stocks in Britain, Germany and France were nearly 2 percent lower after a mostly positive day in Asia.
The S&P 500 erased its losses for this year on Monday. Investors have taken heart in signs that the global economy is on the mend, particularly in China, Europe and the United States. They have also been cheered by government and central bank efforts to use money to fight the global freeze.
Stocks that had fared the best in the rally, like those of airlines and cruise companies, pulled back on Tuesday. Shares of Delta Air Lines fell about 8 percent, and American Airlines was down about 9 percent, while the cruise line operator Carnival Corporation was down more than 7 percent.
Tuesday brought reminders that the global situation remained tenuous. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula rose, while prospects for a quick batch of new stimulus spending in the United States looked uncertain.
In Germany, new data showed exports had plunged in April by 24 percent, much more than expected, which cast doubt over how quickly Europe’s largest economy could bounce back.
And investors are wary of a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak that could force economic activity to halt once more. Infections are still rising in many U.S. states and public health officials are concerned that the nationwide protests over police brutality may lead to new cases of the virus.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in extracting natural gas from shale rock that came to be known for an illegal scheme to suppress the price of oil and gas leases, went on a wild ride on Tuesday amid reports that it was preparing a bankruptcy filing.
Trading was halted for more than three hours in the morning. Then when buying and selling resumed, the trading was quickly interrupted again by circuit breakers. The company’s shares closed just below $24 for a loss of about 66 percent for the day.
Chesapeake’s successes at using hydraulic fracturing to produce gas helped convert the United States from a natural gas importer into a major global exporter. But the company overextended itself by amassing a large debt and has been struggling to survive over the last decade. It is the latest of more than a dozen heavily indebted oil and gas businesses to seek bankruptcy protection since the coronavirus pandemic took hold and Saudi Arabia and Russia flooded the global market with oil this spring.
The company hired advisers to explore bankruptcy in recent months after reporting a loss of $8.3 billion in the first quarter, and said it had just $82 million in cash at the end of March. Chesapeake was forced to write down the value of oil and gas assets by roughly $8.5 billion this year. With $9.5 billion in debts at the end of last year, it has bond payments of $192 millions that are due in August.
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