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Wed, July 17, 2024

Stock market today: Asian shares are mostly higher after Wall Street hits more records

B360
B360 July 4, 2024, 11:38 am
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BANGKOK: Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Thursday after Wall Street's record-breaking rally powered on.

Shares fell in Chinese markets but rose in the rest of the region. US futures were nearly unchanged and oil prices fell.

On Wednesday, US stocks kept rising in a holiday-shortened session after weak reports on the economy kept the door open for possible cuts to interest rates.

US markets will be closed Thursday for the Independence Day holiday.

Investors worldwide are keen to see the Federal Reserve cut rates that it has been keeping at two-decade highs to slow growth and tame inflation.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to 40,815.95, with buying of automakers' shares and other export oriented stocks kept the benchmark near 35-year highs.

Toyota Motor Corp was up 1.3% and computer testing equipment maker Advantest Corp gained 2.4%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng recovered from early losses, edging up 0.1% to 17,988.25, and the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4% to 2,969.45.

Taiwan's Taiex jumped 1.2% as chip maker and market heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. gained 2.7%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 surged 1% to 7,815.80, while the Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.7% to 2,813.54.

Bangkok's SET jumped 1%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% to set an all-time high for a second straight day and for the 33rd time this year. It closed at 5,537.02.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1% to 39,308.00, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.9% to 18,188.30.

Tesla again helped boost the market and rose 6.5% a day after reporting a milder drop in sales for the spring than analysts feared. It was one of the strongest forces pushing upward on the S&P 500, along with Nvidia. The darling of Wall Street's rush into artificial intelligence technology climbed 4.6% to bring the chip company's gain for the year so far to 159%.

The action was stronger in the bond market, where Treasury yields slid following a flurry of reports that came in weaker than expected on both the job market and US services companies. The data could keep the Federal Reserve on course to deliver the cuts to interest rates later this year that Wall Street desires.

One report said activity for businesses in the real estate, retail trade and other US services industries contracted in June for just the third time in 49 months, weaker than economists' forecasts. Perhaps more importantly for Wall Street, the report from the Institute of Supply Management also said prices were increasing at a slower pace.

That followed reports from earlier in the morning showing a slowing job market.

The hope on Wall Street is that the economy will soften by just enough to keep a lid on upward pressure on inflation, but not so much that it throws workers out of their jobs and triggers a recession.

A much more anticipated report will arrive on Friday, when the US government will give its comprehensive update about how many workers employers added to their payrolls during June.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 4.35% from 4.44% late Tuesday, a notable move for the bond market, and much of the slide came after the report on US services businesses. It's been generally sinking since April on hopes that inflation is slowing enough to get the Federal Reserve to lower its main interest rate from the highest level in more than two decades.

In other dealings, US benchmark crude oil gave up 56 cents to $83.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, lost 51 cents to $86.83 per barrel.

The US dollar fell to 161.50 Japanese yen, reflecting expectations that US interest rate cuts might narrow the gap in rates with Japan, where the benchmark lending rate is near zero.

The euro was unchanged at $1.0787.

By RSS/AP

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