World shares higher after S&P 500 tops 4,000 points

BANGKOK (AP) — World shares were higher in listless trading yesterday after a broad rally pushed the S&P 500 past 4,000 points for the first time.

Many major markets were closed for Good Friday. In Asia, Tokyo surged more than one per cent and Seoul and Shanghai also gained.

Various industries are getting a lift from United States (US) President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructural renewal initiative. The future for the S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent after it jumped 1.2 per cent on Thursday. The future for the Dow industrials edged 0.1 per cent higher.

”As we enter Q2, optimism abounds as unquestionably spring is in the air with the macro focus squarely on the US and the Biden administration infrastructure plan,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.

Hopes are rising that the recovery from the pandemic and the boost to spending will spur a powerful rebound in US hiring this year and yesterday’s jobs report for March will provide crucial insight into whether those rosy expectations may prove true.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.6 per cent to 29,854.00 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.8 per cent to 3,112.80. The Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.5 per cent to 3,484.39.

A currency trader walks near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

Audio equipment maker Onkyo Home Entertainment’s shares plunged more than 14 per cent after falling 68 per cent on Thursday as the company is due to be delisted in Tokyo after it reported a negative net worth for two straight years.

Onkyo has so far failed to raise enough funding to cover its debt and has forecast a net loss of USD53.6 million for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

On Thursday, a tech company rally pushed the S&P 500 up 1.2 per cent to 4,019.87, its first close above the 4,000 mark.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to 33,153.21. The technology-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.8 per cent to 13,480.11.

Smaller companies that stand to benefit from a quickly growing economy continued to notch solid gains. The Russell 2000 index picked up 1.5 per cent, to 2,253.90.

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google’s parent company also were among the winners. Healthcare, household goods stocks and utilities were the only laggards.

Technology stocks benefitted from another drop in bond yields, which have been the driving force for the market for several weeks.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note fell to 1.67 per cent from 1.73 per cent the day before. Higher bond yields make stocks seem more expensive by comparison, and tech stocks are among the most expensive after their significant rise last year.