Stock market today: Asian shares mostly higher after rebound on Wall St

Asian shares are mostly higher after U.S. stocks bounced back from Wall Street’s worst day since April to finish higher for the week

Elaine Kurtenbach
Monday 27 May 2024 04:28 BST

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Asian shares were mostly higher on Monday after U.S. stocks bounced back from Wall Street’s worst day since April to finish higher for the week.

U.S. futures slipped while oil prices advanced.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to 38,758.96 and the Kospi in Seoul jumped 0.7% to 2,705.87.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 surged 0.7% to 2,705.87 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,097.86 as the government reported corporate profits rose 4.3% year-on-year in April.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 18,576.65.

Taiwan led the advance, with heavy buying of computer chip-related shares pushing the Taiex up 1.3% to a fresh record. MediaTek, a semiconductor company that provides chips for wireless communications, high-definition television and handheld mobile device jumped 8.4%.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. logged a more modest 0.5% gain.

“The robust global semiconductor cycle is positive for Taiwan’s growth outlook,” Raymond Yeung and Bansi Madhavani of ANZ wrote in a research note. “The global semiconductor cycle is strong thanks to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence applications, cloud computing and 5G telecommunications technology,” it said.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to 5,304.72 and won back all its losses from the prior two days. It eked out a tiny gain for the week, extending its weekly winning streak to five, and is sitting just below its record set on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1% to 39,069.59, and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.1%, to 16,920.79, topping an all-time high set earlier in the week.

Nvidia rose another 2.6% Friday, making it the biggest single force pushing the S&P 500 upward.

This week’s bumpiness for stocks came despite another blowout profit report from Nvidia, which has rocketed to become one of Wall Street’s most influential stocks amid a frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. Fervor around AI had pushed some stocks to heights that critics called overdone, but Nvidia’s eye-popping growth and forecasts for more suggest it could keep going.

The overall U.S. economy has been showing continued strength for spending by U.S. households, but numbers beneath the surface may not be as encouraging.

The market got a bit of a boost Friday from a report showing overall sentiment among U.S. consumers weakened by less in May than preliminary data had suggested. Perhaps more importantly, the report from the University of Michigan also said U.S. consumers’ expectations for inflation in the coming year rose by less in May than earlier feared.

That could help stave off a vicious cycle where high expectations for inflation among U.S. households drive them to behave in ways that only make inflation worse.

Worries about stubbornly high inflation were behind this week’s rocky trading, after indexes set records recently. The weakness began after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday released the minutes from its last policy meeting. It showed some officials talking about the possibility of raising rates if inflation worsens.

Stocks fell further after reports on Thursday indicated the U.S. economy is stronger than expected. Such strength can actually spook Wall Street because it could keep upward pressure on inflation.

That in turn could delay a cut to the Federal Reserve's main interest rate, which is sitting at the highest level in more than 20 years. The Fed is trying to pull of the difficult feat of slowing the economy enough through high interest rates to stifle high inflation but not so much that it kneecaps the job market.

Treasury yields climbed last week on such concerns, but they were mostly stable Friday following the report on consumer sentiment. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.46% from 4.48% late Thursday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for action by the Fed, was holding steady at 4.94%.

U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 21 cents to $77.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 85 cents on Friday.

Brent crude, the international standard, added 21 cents to $82.05 per barrel.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar slipped to 156.77 Japanese yen from 156.99 yen.

The euro rose to $1.0851 from $1.0844.

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