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Stock market today: Asian shares mostly decline as Nvidia weighs on Wall Street

B360
B360 June 21, 2024, 1:23 pm
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TOKYO: Asian shares were mostly lower on Friday after a retreat on Wall Street, where a drop in Nvidia stock pulled stocks lower.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up less than 0.1% to 38,645.63 after the government reported that the inflation rate ticked higher for the first time in three months, to 2.5% in May, up from 2.2% in April.

"We will have one more month of data before the next Bank of Japan meeting, which will be on close watch to determine if markets are getting ahead of themselves by leaning towards a potential rate hike in September this year," said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 7,780.40. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.9% to 2,782.43.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.7% to 18,022.42, while the Shanghai Composite slipped nearly 0.4% to 2,993.57.

Thursday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 dropped 0.3% from an all-time high set before trading paused for Wednesday's Juneteenth holiday. It closed at 5,473.17.

The Nasdaq composite pulled back from its record, slipping 0.8% to 17,721.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average beat the market with a gain of 0.8% to 39,134.76.

Nvidia gave up an early gain and swung to a loss of 3.5% to put at risk an eight-week winning streak. The chip company has been the main beneficiary of Wall Street's frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. On Tuesday, it supplanted Microsoft to become the most valuable company in the market. Nvidia's stumble ceded the top spot back to Microsoft.

Nvidia's chips are helping to power the move into AI, which proponents see producing explosive growth in productivity and profits, and it's already up 164% this year after more than tripling last year.

In a show of how powerful AI can be, Accenture rose 7.3% even though the consulting and professional-services company reported weaker profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. In its earnings report, it highlighted how it won over $900 million in new bookings for generative AI to bring the total for its last three quarters to $2 billion.

Besides raising worries about a potential bubble where investors' excitement is getting excessive, the eye-popping gains for Nvidia and other AI winners have helped prop up the stock market despite some weakness in the US economy. High interest rates meant to grind down inflation have hurt the housing market and manufacturing, while lower-income households are showing signs of struggling to keep up with still-rising prices.

In the bond market, Treasury yields ticked higher following a spate of mixed reports on the economy. The number of US workers filing for unemployment benefits eased last week, but not by as much as economists expected. A separate report said manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic is growing, but not as quickly as economists thought. Home builders, meanwhile, broke ground on fewer new homes last month than expected.

A slowdown in the US economy could help tamp down inflationary pressures and convince the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate later this year. That would would release pressure on the economy and boost investment prices.

Fed officials have indicated they could cut their main interest rate once or twice this year, down from its highest level in more than 20 years. Many traders on Wall Street, meanwhile, are expecting two or more cuts, according to data from CME Group.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.25% from 4.22% late Tuesday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, rose to 4.73% from 4.71%.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude dropped 11 cents to $81.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 13 cents to $85.58 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar cost 158.90 Japanese yen, little changed from 158.92 yen. The euro cost $1.0715, up from $1.0702.

By RSS/AP

 

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