Asian shares mixed with China stocks down

Asian shares mixed, with China stocks down

/ 05:28 PM May 23, 2024

Asian shares mixed, with China stocks down

A currency trader watches monitors near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won, right, at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

TOKYO — Asian shares were trading mixed Thursday, as investor sentiment in Tokyo was boosted by news of soaring Nvidia earnings.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.3 percent to 39,103.22. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.5 percent to 7,811.80. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,726.33. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.6 percent to 18,892.21, while the Shanghai Composite shed 1.2 percent to 3,120.35.


Semiconductor-related issues were boosted by news that Nvidia’s profit skyrocketed above forecasts, with quarterly net income climbing more than sevenfold from a year earlier to $14.88 billion. Revenue more than tripled for what’s become the iconic brand behind the recent artificial intelligence boom.


READ: Nvidia’s Q1 profit soars, underscoring its dominance in chips for AI

Also in Asia, the Bank of Korea kept its policy rate unchanged, as was widely expected.

On Wall Street, indexes retreated from their records as concerns about high interest rates weighed on the market.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent to 5,307.01, a day after setting its latest all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.5 percent to 39,671.04, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2 percent to 16,801.54 after setting its latest record.

Fed more likely to cut than hike rates

Indexes were close to flat early in the day, but slunk lower after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its last policy meeting. They showed Fed officials suggesting it “would likely take longer than previously thought” to get inflation fully under control following disappointingly high readings early this year.

READ: US Fed’s rate meeting minutes show growing inflation concerns


And even though Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after that meeting that the Federal Reserve is more likely to cut rates than to hike them, the minutes said “various participants” were willing to raise rates if inflation worsens. That rekindled hopes on Wall Street that the Fed will be able to cut its main interest rate at least once this year.

Lululemon Athletica sank 7.2 percent after it said its chief product officer, Sun Choe, is leaving the company this month to “pursue another opportunity.” The company announced a new organizational structure where it won’t replace the role of chief product officer.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.42 percent from 4.41 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed, rose a bit more. It climbed to 4.87 percent from 4.84 percent.

Helping to keep the move in yields in check was the fact that the harsh talk in the minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting was from May 1. That was before some reports showed softening in inflation and certain parts of the U.S. economy, which may have changed the minds of some Fed officials.

Softening inflation

In recent speeches since that May 1 meeting, some Fed officials have called those recent reports encouraging. But they have also said they still need to see months more of improving data before they could cut the federal funds rate, which is sitting at its highest level in more than 20 years.

The Fed is trying to pull off a tightrope walk where it slows the economy just enough through high interest rates to get inflation under control but not so much that it causes a bad recession.

High rates have made everything from credit card bills to auto-loan payments more expensive. Mortgage rates are also high, and a report on Wednesday showed sales of previously occupied homes were weaker last month than economists expected.

Central banks around the world seem eager to cut interest rates, but “they may not go far” given how well economies are doing and how high inflation still is, according to Athanasios Vamvakidis, a strategist at Bank of America.

He said in a BofA Global Research report that he expects only shallow cuts to interest rates, which may also come later than financial markets seem to be forecasting.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude fell 57 cents to $77.00 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 51 cents to $81.39 a barrel.

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The U.S. dollar fell to 156.62 Japanese yen from 156.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0830 from $1.0824.

TAGS: Asian shares, China stocks

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