By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
U.K. stocks ended lower Tuesday, as investors returned from a long holiday weekend to see worries surrounding the tech sector and a potential trade war were lingering as the second quarter of 2018 got under way.
How markets moved
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.34% fell 0.4% to end at 7,030.46, led by losses in the utility sector. On Thursday, the index rose 0.2% and wrapped up first-quarter trading with a slide of 8.2%.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0157% on Tuesday traded at $1.4067, up from $1.4045 late Monday in New York.
U.K. financial markets were closed Friday and on Monday in observance of the Good Friday and Easter holidays.
What drove markets
U.K. and European /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.10% equity investors stepped back into the markets after U.S. stocks sold off Monday, led by a fall for the tech sector, which has been under considerable pressure in recent weeks.
The FTSE 100 managed to pare its decline as U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.60% /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.34% showed signs of recovery during Tuesday’s session after the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +2.26% was pushed into negative territory for the year on Monday. Amazon Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +2.49% remains a big focus after U.S. President Donald Trump took aim at the online retail giant.
The tech group on the FTSE 100 is small, with just two stocks. Both closed higher, with business software maker Micro Focus /zigman2/quotes/207956281/delayed UK:MCRO -2.56% gaining 2.5% and enterprise software maker Sage Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/204528931/delayed UK:SGE +0.06% rose 0.9%.
Concerns about a trade war remained present as well, after China said it would slap tariffs on about 130 U.S. goods. China had warned it may issue levies in retaliation against the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports. Trade-war worries contributed to losses for equity markets world-wide last month. The FTSE 100 closed trading in March down by 2.4%.
What strategists are saying
“Investors who were hoping that the volatility of quarter one was behind them have been left sadly disappointed as tariff tensions and tech turmoil saw U.S. markets tumble, the VIX soar, the S&P fall below technical levels to five-month lows and European markets start April lower,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, in a note.