Asian shares open higher after modest gains on Wall St

Business News

Men wearing protective masks walk in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Friday after Wall Street benchmarks managed to close mostly higher.

Stocks advanced in most major markets in early trading.

In China, a major Communist Partymeeting ended with a resolution setting the stage for President Xi Jinping to remain top leader for life. The decision was expected.

Party leaders praised Xi’s role in the country’s rise as an economic and strategic power, approving a political history that gives him status alongside the most important party figures such as Mao Zedong.

Although the Chinese economy has been slowing after bouncing back from a pandemic downturn, the record $139.1 billion spent by Chinese shoppers during this year’s annual Nov. 11 Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza suggested potential for resilient retail demand.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1% to 25,484.50 while the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher, to 3,537.30.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.2% to 29,631.86, while the Kospi in South Korea added 1% to 2,954.57. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 also gained 1% to 7,454.50.

The latest round of mostly solid corporate earnings is winding down after helping the broader market rise for weeks and reach a series of records. Inflation concerns have been rattling investors throughout the week, however.

Recent data paint “a picture of an economy running hot and with widespread price pressures,” Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a report.

“The Fed may ultimately prove to be correct in its judgement that pressures will ease naturally over time as they’re broadly driven by temporary factors,” he said. “But how long can they afford to stand by and watch inflation dramatically overshoot their target? Are they really that confident in their assessment? The pressure is intensifying.”

The benchmark S&P 500 is on track for its first weekly loss in six weeks. On Thursday, it rose 0.1% to 4,629.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% to 35,921.23, largely due to a steep drop in entertainment company Walt Disney, which slumped 7.1% after reporting slower subscriber gains at its streaming channel and weak fiscal fourth-quarter financial results.

The Nasdaq rose 0.5%, to 15,704.28.

Technology stocks did most of the heavy lifting for the benchmark S&P 500 and chipmakers were particularly strong. Nvidia rose 3.2% and Qualcomm rose 2.9%. Banks also made solid gains. Citigroup rose 1%.

Coach and Kate Spade owner Tapestry jumped 8.4% after reporting strong fiscal first-quarter financial results.

Smaller-company stocks outpaced the broader market in a sign that investors were confident about economic growth. The Russell 2000 rose 0.8%.

Beyond Meat dropped 13.3% after reporting a much wider loss than analysts were expecting.

On Wednesday all major indexes retreated after the Labor Department reported hotter-than-expected consumer prices in October. That followed data Tuesday showing inflation at the wholesale level also surged in October.

The inflation concerns pushed bond yields broadly higher on Wednesday, though the bond market was closed for Veterans Day on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury stood at 1.57% as of early Thursday in Asia, up from 1.55%.

Companies have been warning that they are being squeezed by higher raw materials costs and supply chain problems. Consumers are already facing higher costs for essential items such as food, rent, autos and heating oil. Analysts worry they may cut spending on discretionary items to focus on essentials, which could then crimp the broader economic recovery.

Higher inflation raises expectations that the Federal Reserve and other central banks will raise short-term interest rates deployed during the pandemic to encourage lending and spending. The Fed already has begun to pare back bond purchases it makes to keep longer-term rates low.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 21 cents to $81.38 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 25 cents to $81.59 per barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, the basis for international pricing, gave up 23 cents to $82.64 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 114.16 Japanese yen from 114.07 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1448 from $1.1451.

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AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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