Asian shares trade higher after Wall St rally

Asian shares trade higher after Wall St rally takes S&P 500 near record

/ 03:35 PM May 10, 2024

Asian shares trade higher after Wall St rally takes S&P 500 near record

A currency trader works near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

TOKYO  — Stocks in Asia traded higher Friday after a rally on Wall Street that pulled the S&P 500 back within 1 percent of its record.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, and China, where investors were focused on the release of April inflation figures.


In Japan, the Finance Ministry reported a record current account surplus for the fiscal year through March, as strong auto exports whittled down its trade deficit and the nation racked up solid returns on overseas investments. However, weak consumer spending undermined that positive data.


Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to 38,229.11, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 7,761.90. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,733.06.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.1 percent to 18,918.54, while the Shanghai Composite edged 0.2 percent higher, to 3,160.61.

Price data expected Saturday are being watched to see if the economy might be regaining momentum.

READ: China’s exports, imports returned to growth in April as demand improved

“Despite efforts, China has grappled with consumer deflation for about a year, presenting a formidable challenge that Beijing has yet to overcome,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 5,214.08. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 percent to 39,387.76, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.3 percent, to 16,346.26.


U.S. jobless claims

A report showing a pickup in layoffs helped to support the market. The number of workers applying for unemployment benefits rose by more last week than economists expected, though it remains relatively low compared with history.

That could be a sign the economy can pull off a hoped-for balancing act of staying solid enough to avoid a bad recession, but not so strong that it puts upward pressure on inflation.

Equinix jumped 11.5 percent after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The company, which runs data centers around the world, also said an independent investigation led by its board found no accounting inconsistencies or errors that would require financial restatements. Earlier, an investment firm had accused it of “major accounting manipulation.”

Yeti Holdings rose 12.8 percent after reporting better profit for the latest quarter than expected thanks to stronger sales for its drinkware and coolers and equipment.

READ: Despite a seemingly healthy economy, low-income spenders show the strain

Cheesecake Factory gained 6.2 percent after topping expectations for profit. The results were encouraging following some recent warnings by big food and drink companies about how much pressure their customers, particularly lower-income ones, are feeling.

Airbnb sank 6.9 percent despite topping expectations for profit and revenue. It gave a forecasted range for revenue in the current quarter whose midpoint fell short of what analysts expected. It said an earlier Easter pulled more of its business this year into the first quarter from the second quarter.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury eased to 4.45 percent from 4.5 percent late Wednesday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, slipped to 4.81 percent from 4.84 percent late Wednesday.

A smooth auction of 30-year Treasury bonds helped to keep yields stable.

Fed closer to cutting than hiking rate

Treasury yields have largely been easing since Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the central bank remains closer to cutting its main interest rate than hiking it, despite a string of stubbornly high readings on inflation this year.

A cooler-than-expected jobs report on Friday, meanwhile, suggested the U.S. economy could manage to avoid being either too hot or too cold.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 60 cents to $79.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 54 cents to $84.42 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 155.53 Japanese yen from 155.50 yen.

The weak yen has been both a blessing and a worry for Japan, as it helps boost export earnings but chips away at purchasing power. Expectations are growing for the Bank of Japan to start raising interest rates, although how much exactly and when remain unclear. The U.S. dollar was trading at 130 yen levels a year ago.

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The euro fell to $1.0776 from $1.0782.

TAGS: Asian stocks, consumer spending

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