Asia stocks mixed after Wall St breaks losing streak
Feb 22, 2023, 10:26 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2023, 10:07 pm
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares in Asia were mixed Friday after Wall Street broke its longest losing streak since December with a modest rally led by tech stocks.
Benchmarks rose in Tokyo and Sydney but fell in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul. Oil prices rose while U.S. futures edged lower.
Japan reported its core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh foods, rose the most in 41 years in January. But the nominee to head its central bank, economist Kazuo Ueda, told lawmakers he favors keeping Japan’s benchmark interest rate near zero to ensure stable growth.
Ueda is expected to succeed BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda when he steps down in April after two 5-year terms marked by unprecedented easing. The change of leadership has prompted speculation about a possible change in the ultra-lax monetary stance, though Ueda sought to dispel such expectations.
“Time is needed before the effects of monetary policy kick in,” Ueda told Parliament, noting the price rises are peaking.
Wages in Japan have failed to keep pace with price increases, and worries over a potential global recession have left the BOJ wary of altering course.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 1.1% to 27,390.09 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.3% to to 7,303.50. India’s Sensex was up 0.3% at 59,814.70.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 1.4% to 20,063.48 while the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.7% to 3,264.58. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.7% to 2,423.56. Bangkok and Taiwan also declined.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% for its first gain in five days, closing at 4,012.32. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3% to 33,153,91, and the Nasdaq composite surged 0.7% to 11,590.40.
Tech stocks helped lead the way after Nvidia reported better results for the latest quarter than expected. Its shares jumped 14% after it also gave a forecast for upcoming revenue that topped some analysts’ expectations. It cited recovering strength in video gaming and demand for artificial intelligence products.
Tech and high-growth stocks have struggled recently because of worries about rising interest rates. They’re seen as some of the most vulnerable as the Federal Reserve jacks rates higher in hopes of stamping out inflation.
High rates hurt prices for investments, particularly those seen as the riskiest, most expensive or whose big growth is furthest out in the future. They also raise the risk of a recession because they slow the economy.
A lengthening list of reports have shown the U.S. economy is in stronger shape than expected, raising hopes a recession can be avoided. But that’s also forced Wall Street to raise its forecasts for how high the Fed will take interest rates and how long it will keep them there.
Fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than expected, the latest indication the job market remains resilient. A separate report said economic growth was likely a touch weaker in the last three months of 2022 than earlier estimated. But the U.S. economy still grew at a 2.7% annual rate.
Wall Street’s heightened expectations for rates and the Fed have been most evident in the bond market, where Treasury yields have shot higher this month. They eased a bit on Thursday, taking some of the pressure off stocks.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans, dipped to 3.86% early Friday from 3.93% late Wednesday. Earlier this week, it topped 3.95%, approaching its highest level since November.
On the losing end of Wall Street was Moderna, whose shares slid 6.7% after it reported its fourth-quarter profit tumbled 70% as COVID-19 vaccine sales fell and the drugmaker caught up on a royalty payment.
Domino’s Pizza dropped 11.7% despite reporting stronger profit than expected and Lordstown Motors tumbled 11.4% to $1.09 after it said it’s temporarily halting production and deliveries of its Endurance electric pickup due to performance and quality issues with certain components.
In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 67 cents to $76.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, picked up 67 cents to $82.62 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar slipped to 134.68 Japanese yen from 134.70 yen. The euro rose to $1.0600 from $1.0596.
AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Stan Choe contributed.
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