U.S. stock indexes were lower ahead of a wave of earnings reports from major technology and blue-chip firms, as investors contended with fears about slowing growth. 

The S&P 500 shed 1.7% in Tuesday morning trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.2%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 2.7%. All but one of the S&P 100’s 11 sectors were in the red, with consumer discretionary and tech stocks among the leading decliners.

General Electric fell more than 10% after warning that supply chain disruptions would pressure its business this year.

United Parcel Service fell more than 3%. The company said quarterly revenue rose more than 6%, though it shipped fewer packages than it did in the year-ago quarter. 3M, which reported better-than-expected first-quarter sales, fell 3%.

Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet, GOOG -3.00% General Motors, Visa and Mondelez International MDLZ -0.50% are set to report earnings after markets close. 

Stocks closed higher on Monday, led by tech stocks, after Twitter agreed to be taken private by Elon Musk. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.3% while the S&P 500 added 0.6%.

Fears about a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in China, and strict lockdowns imposed to fight the outbreak there, have heightened investors’ concerns about the global economy and prompted choppy trading in recent sessions. Soaring inflation is weighing on companies and consumers, while the Federal Reserve’s indications that it will quickly tighten monetary policy threatens to drag on growth. 

“We had a beautiful scenario over the last 18 months: Growth was accelerating and bond yields were falling—the perfect combination for risk assets,” said Hani Redha, a portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments. “Now we have the complete opposite.”

The yield on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury note declined to 2.751% from 2.825% on Monday. The yield on the benchmark note remains close to its highest level since 2018 as investors have sold bonds in anticipation of higher interest rates. Bond yields rise as prices fall. 

Assets considered havens in times of trouble, such as Treasury bonds, are being pressured by inflation and expectations for tighter central-bank policy along with stocks, complicating matters for investors seeking shelter during recent volatility. Gold, another haven, rose 0.4% on Tuesday, but prices remain close to their lowest level since February.

The Federal Reserve’s main tool for managing the economy is to change the federal-funds rate, which can affect not only borrowing costs for consumers but also shape broader decisions by companies like how many people to hire. WSJ explains how the Fed manipulates this one rate to guide the entire economy. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds

“Inflation really is enemy number one for financial markets. It is painful for risk assets and painful for your safety assets,” Mr. Redha said. “There are very few places to hide.”

Brent crude futures rose 0.7% to $102.86 a barrel. The international oil benchmark fell below the $100 a barrel level Monday before rebounding. U.S. benchmark oil prices, known as West Texas Intermediate, rose 0.7% to $99.24 a barrel Tuesday.

In economic news, U.S. consumer confidence fell slightly in April, the Conference Board said on Tuesday. Orders for durable goods—consumer products designed to last for more than three years—rebounded in March following a weak February. 

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, a measure of average home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas, rose 19.8% in the year that ended in February, up from a 19.1% annual rate the prior month. Higher prices and rising mortgage rates are expected to weigh on home sales this year. Sales of new homes fell 12.6% in March from a year ago, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1%. HSBC shares in London fell close to 3% after reporting a drop in quarterly profits

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.4%, lower for a second consecutive day, as investors continued to worry about the threat of new Covid-19 lockdowns. The People’s Bank of China vowed to step up support for the economy Tuesday in an attempt to calm the jitters, but the move only had a temporary effect on local markets.

Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“I don’t see any catalyst for price appreciation until we get some tangible, meaningful moves on the policy front,” said John Woods, Asia Pacific chief investment officer at Credit Suisse, referring to Chinese stocks. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4%, while South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%.

—Rebecca Feng contributed to this article.

Write to Will Horner at william.horner@wsj.com and Orla McCaffrey at orla.mccaffrey@wsj.com

How the Biggest Companies Are Performing

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Source: WSJ

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