UNITED STATES NEWS

Stock market today: Asian shares rise, buoyed by Wall Street rally from bonds and oil prices

Oct 3, 2023, 11:58 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2023, 8:48 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares advanced Thursday after a plunge in oil prices aided a recovery on Wall Street.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul and Hong Kong. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Market sentiment was helped by a $5 decline in oil prices on Wednesday. Lower energy costs would relieve inflationary pressures that have led central banks to keep interest rates high.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.5% to 30,969.71. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 6,925.50, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8% to 2,424.90. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.7% to 17,321.16.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 53 cents to $84.75 a barrel. It fell $5.01 to settle at $84.22 per barrel Wednesday in its biggest drop in just over a year. It was hovering near $70 a barrel and has been been pulling back since topping $93 last week.

Brent crude, the international standard, gained 61 cents to $86.42.

Oil prices fell after the Energy Information Administration reported a 4.6 million barrel increase in commercial petroleum products. Inventories of gasoline rose to above average.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.8%, closing at 4,263.75. The Dow added 0.4% to 33,129.55 and the Nasdaq jumped 1.4% to 13,236.01.

Stocks have struggled since the summer under the weight of soaring Treasury yields in the bond market. High yields undercut stock prices by pulling investment dollars away from stocks and into bonds. They also crimp corporate profits by making borrowing more expensive.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which is the centerpiece of the bond market, pulled back from its highest level since 2007, down to 4.71% early Thursday from 4.80% late Tuesday. Shorter- and longer-term yields also eased to allow more oxygen for the stock market.

Yields fell following a couple reports indicating a slowing economy. The first suggested hiring by employers outside the government was much weaker last month than expected.

On Wall Street, that’s currently good news because a cooling job market could mean less upward pressure on inflation. That in turn could convince the Federal Reserve to take it easier on interest rates.

After already hiking its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001, the Fed has indicated it may keep its overnight rate higher next year than it had earlier expected. Treasury yields have correspondingly snapped higher as traders accept a new normal for markets of high rates for longer.

The Fed is paying particular attention to the job market because too much strength there could drive wages for workers much higher, which it fears could keep inflation well above its target of 2%.

Wednesday’s report from ADP suggested private employers added 89,000 jobs last month, a much sharper slowdown in hiring than the 140,000 that economists expected.

The report doesn’t have a perfect track record in predicting what the more comprehensive jobs report from the U.S. government will say. That will arrive on Friday.

A second report on the economy said growth in U.S. services industries slowed in September by a touch more than economists expected.

Wall Street is also absorbing the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House of Representatives. The unprecedented move likely doesn’t change much in the short term, with funding for the U.S. government set until Nov. 17.

“That said, a leadership vacuum in the House raises the odds of a government shutdown when the current funding extension expires,” according to economists at Goldman Sachs.

A shutdown would drag on the U.S. economy, raising the risk of a recession, though financial markets have held up relatively well through past shutdowns.

Big Tech stocks helped to support the market after leading it lower a day earlier. They tend to move more sharply with expectations for rates because high-growth stocks are seen as some of the biggest victims of high yields.

A 5.9% jump for Tesla and 1.8% rise for Microsoft were the two strongest forces pushing upward on the S&P 500. Alphabet rose 2.1%.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar fell to 148.48 Japanese yen from 149.02 yen. The euro cost $1.0530, up from $1.0509.

___

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

United States News

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Stock market today: Asian shares rise, buoyed by Wall Street rally from bonds and oil prices