Asian stocks are mixed as investors wait for central bank moves

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TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday amid cautious trading ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark fell 0.4% to close at 29,520.90. The Australian S & P / ASX 200 slipped 0.6% to 7,324.30. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1% to 3,012.63. The Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 0.1% to 25,124.94, while the Shanghai Composite lost 1.2% to 3,502.60.

With US inflation at its highest level in three decades, the US Federal Reserve is expected to start this week cutting back the extraordinary stimulus it has given to the economy since the pandemic recession struck early. from last year, a process that could prove to be a risky balancing act.

President Jerome Powell has indicated that the Fed will announce after its policy meeting on Wednesday that it will start cutting its $ 120 billion in monthly bond purchases as early as this month. These purchases aim to keep long-term loan rates low to encourage borrowing and spending.

Investors were also watching action at the Reserve Bank of Australia, which kept the change in its major interest rates unchanged at a record low of 0.1%, but said it was preparing to cut some of its measures. economic support.

“While Wall Street records overnight could increase feelings for Asian markets, upcoming central bank decisions could put some feelings of risk on hold,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG.

US stocks closed with modest gains on Wall Street, extending the recent record run for major indices. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,613.67 after spending much of the day swinging between small gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3% to 35,913.64 and the Nasdaq rose 0.6% to 15,595.92. The gains pushed all three indices above all-time highs they set on Friday.

More than 65% of S&P 500 shares rose, led by energy companies as the price of U.S. crude oil rose 0.6%, adding to a gain of more than 75% so far this year. Exxon Mobil rose 1.8%. A mix of companies that depend on direct consumer spending for goods and services accounted for a large part of the index’s gains. Tesla jumped 8.5% and Starbucks 3.5%.

Losses at tech, communications and healthcare companies helped contain the S&P 500’s gains. Microsoft fell 0.7%, parent company Google Alphabet slipped 3.1%, and UnitedHealth Group fell fell 1.4%.

Smaller company stocks largely outperformed the market as a whole, a sign that investors were confident about economic growth. The Russell 2000 rose 2.7% to 2,358.12, closing 0.1% to its all-time high set on March 15th.

The latest gains came as investors scrutinized another batch of quarterly corporate newsletters during what has so far been a better-than-expected earnings season, despite Wall Street concerns about the impact of supply chain disruptions and rising inflation on businesses.

Bond yields rose, helping stocks in banks that rely on higher yields charge higher interest on loans. The 10-year Treasury yield fell from 1.55% Friday night to 1.56%.

More than half of the companies in the benchmark S&P 500 have already published results. Analysts expect overall profit growth of 36% by the end of the report. 167 other companies in the index will publish their results this week.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will release its results on Tuesday and CVS Health will release its results on Wednesday.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude added 14 cents to $ 84.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 48 cents to $ 84.05 on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 31 cents to $ 85.02 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar fell to 113.70 Japanese yen from 113.98 yen. The euro cost $ 1.1601, compared to $ 1.1607.


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