Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Asian markets climb, tracking profit-driven gains on Wall Street

Elaine Kurtenbach

BANGKOK (AP) – Asian shares advanced yesterday after Wall Street rallied to its best day in more than three weeks as companies reported strong profits for the past quarter.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.5 per cent to 27,631.50 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained two per cent to 21,068.85. In Seoul, the Kospi added one per cent to 2,395.19.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.7 per cent to 6,765.00, while the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.7 per cent to 3,301.25.

Shares also rose in India and Taiwan.

China’s central bank kept its loan prime rate steady despite the latest data showing a significant slowdown in growth in the past quarter, when pandemic-related shutdowns in many cities idled businesses and other activity.

“This comes as economic reopening continues to take place albeit at a slower pace, potentially leading to some near-term wait-and-see on economic progress before delivering further cuts ahead,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.

A currency trader works at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 2.8 per cent to 3,936.69. The Dow jumped 2.4 per cent to 31,827.05. The Nasdaq roared 3.1 per cent to 11,713.15. The Russell 2000 surged 3.5 per cent to 1,799.32.

Stocks have dropped roughly 20 per cent this year on worries about rising interest rates and high inflation. That puts a brighter spotlight than usual on how much profit companies are making. Strong earnings would provide a major support for markets. But if CEOs warn about troubles ahead, another tumble may be on the way.

Toy company Hasbro rose 0.7 per cent after it reported stronger profit than analysts expected. Oilfield services provider Halliburton added 2.1 per cent after its profit and revenue topped forecasts.

Netflix jumped eight per cent in after-hours trading after the company reported better-than expected results and a smaller subscriber loss than analysts had feared.

Twitter rose 2.8 per cent after a court in Delaware agreed to quickly schedule a lawsuit that could force billionaire Elon Musk to make good on his agreement to buy the company.

Expectations for economic growth and profits have darkened according to a Bank of America monthly survey of global fund managers. That has them sitting on their highest cash levels since 2001 and their lowest allocations to stocks since 2008.

Today, the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years in hopes of knocking down high inflation.

The Federal Reserve has already raised rates three times this year, and by increasing amounts each time. It will announce its next increase next week, and the only question among investors is whether it will go with another increase of 0.75 percentage points or a colossal hike of a full point.

In other trading, United States (US) benchmark crude oil lost USD0.56 to USD100.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained USD1.32 to USD100.74 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, lost USD0.41 to USD106.94 per barrel.

The US dollar was trading at JPY138.08, down from JPY138.18 late Tuesday. The euro rose to USD1.0245 from USD1.0231.

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