Stocks have been pushing broadly higher as companies turn in much stronger profit reports for the summer than analysts had expected. Historically low interest rates, along with strong corporate profit growth, have helped the S&P 500 more than double from the bottom it set in March 2020 in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 4,566.48, surpassing a record set on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also reached an all-time high, gaining 0.2% to 35,741.15. The Nasdaq composite picked up 0.9%, to 15,226.71.
In Tuesday trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.8% to finish at 29,106.01. The advance was helped by a 2.6% jump in electronics and entertainment Sony Corp., which is reporting earnings later this week. Sony, which has video game and movie divisions, has seen sales rise as people opted for stay-home entertainment during the pandemic.
Other big gainers included Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, which jumped 5.4% after it upgraded its earnings outlook.
“Sentiments in Asia may largely mirror the stellar performance in Wall Street overnight, while the COVID-19 situation in China remains on watch with control measures being tightened,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
China has reimposed travel restrictions in some areas to combat outbreaks of the virus that are adding to concerns over a slowing economy.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.7% to 25,938.50. The Shanghai Composite declined 0.4% to 3,594.52.
South Korea's Kospi gained 1.0% to 3,050.14 after the government reported the economy grew at an annual pace of 4%, according to government data. That was slightly weaker than expected. But analysts expect consumer spending to recover as virus cases ease with progress in the country's vaccine rollout.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost earlier gains to be little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 7,443.40.
On Wall Street, Tesla jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after Hertz said it will buy 100,000 Model 3 vehicles for its fleet. The landmark deal for the electric-vehicle industry sent Tesla up 12.7%. Because it’s one of the biggest stocks in the market, its moves have an outsized effect on the S&P 500.
S&P 500 companies so far have reported profits for the third quarter that were nearly 46% higher than year-ago levels. That has companies in the index on track to report overall growth of roughly 32.5%, according to FactSet. That compares with expectations for roughly 27% growth when the third quarter closed on Sept. 30.
Several of the market’s most influential stocks are set to report their own profits in the upcoming week. That includes Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Because they’re the four biggest companies on Wall Street by market value, their stock movements have a huge effect on the S&P 500, even more than Tesla’s.
Moderna rose 7% after it reported encouraging data on use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children.
Stocks of energy companies surged after the price of U.S. oil topped $85 per barrel during the morning. It’s the first time that’s happened in roughly seven years, though the price sank back as the day continued.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 16 cents to $83.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It ended Monday trading unchanged at $83.76 per barrel.
Brent crude, the basis for international pricing, gained 1 cent to $85.18 a barrel.
Contrary to earlier Federal Reserve comments, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday that inflation is likely to stay elevated well into next year amid gummed-up supply chains and shortages. That could put pressure on the central bank to halt the record-low interest rates that it's been providing to support markets and the economy.
The central bank is preparing to soon slow its monthly bond purchases meant to keep longer-term interest rates low, but a move on short-term interest rates doesn’t appear imminent.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 1.63%.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 113.92 Japanese yen from 113.71 yen. The euro cost $1.1605, down from $1.1611.
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