Stock market today: Asia trading mixed ahead of earnings

Apr 17, 2023, 10:59 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2023, 8:52 pm

Pedestrians pass by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange electronic screen in Hong Kong, Tuesday, April 18,...

Pedestrians pass by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange electronic screen in Hong Kong, Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Asian shares were trading mixed Tuesday as pessimism about global uncertainties remained even as China reported a better-than-expected economic growth data. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

(AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were trading mixed Wednesday, as investors took a wait-and-see attitude ahead of earnings reports and possible moves by central banks.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2% in morning trading to 28,590.40. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1% to 7,370.70. South Korea’s Kospi gained less than 0.1% to 2,573.12. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.6% to 20,521.13. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.3% to 3,383.18.

News that China’s economic growth accelerated in the latest quarter, to 4.5%, did not have much of an impact on share prices. While consumption and retail sales have grown, other indicators, such as industrial output and fixed-asset investments, were weaker and indicate an uneven recovery.

“It may still be a worst-is-over story, but recovery has shown to be more gradual than a one-shot wonder,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

Wall Street closed little changed after a day of meandering trading. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% to 4,154.87 after drifting between small gains and losses throughout the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1% to 33,976.63, and the Nasdaq composite was down less than 0.1% at 12,153.41.

Lockheed Martin was one of Wall Street’s bigger gainers. It climbed 2.4% after reporting a profit for the latest quarter that topped analysts’ expectations.

Bank of America rose 0.6% after its better-than-expected profit report led to an up-and-down day of trading. The majority of companies have been beating forecasts so far in the early days of this reporting season.

The bar, though, was low amid Wall Street’s worries about still-high inflation, much higher interest rates and slowing in some sections of the economy. Analysts came into this reporting season forecasting the sharpest drop in earnings per share for S&P 500 companies since the pandemic torpedoed the economy in 2020.

Several companies stumbled after failing to meet expectations. Goldman Sachs fell 1.7% after its revenue fell short of analysts’ forecasts, though earnings topped expectations.

Health care stocks were broadly weak and the heaviest weight on the S&P 500 out of the 11 sectors that make up the index. Johnson & Johnson fell 2.8% despite reporting stronger profit than expected and raising its dividend.

Coming up later this week will be reports from several dozen more companies in the S&P 500. They include big names such as AT&T, Tesla and Procter & Gamble.

Wall Street’s attention will also turn to smaller, regional banks set to report, such as KeyCorp and Zions Bancorp. Their stocks took a hit last month following the second- and third-largest U.S. bank failures in history.

The worry was that customers could pull their deposits out of banks together at once, similar to the runs that toppled Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Most of the focus has been on regional banks instead of the massive “too-big-to-fail” banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Those big banks have so far been reporting better profits than expected, and their immense size may have helped lure deposits amid the turmoil. Their strength has helped add some calm to markets.

“It appears that major bank earnings announcements helped soothe investors nervousness for financial stocks reporting in the upcoming days,” Stefano Pascale and other analysts at Barclays said in a report.

A larger worry for the economy is that the banking industry’s woes could cause a pullback in lending, pressuring an economy already straining under the weight of much higher interest rates.

The Federal Reserve has jacked rates up at a furious pace over the last year in hopes of slowing high inflation. High rates can suffocate inflation, but only by slowing the entire economy in one blunt action, raising the risk of a recession and hurting investment prices.

Inflation is slowing, but it’s still high, and traders widely expect the Fed to raise rates again at its next meeting in May.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude stood unchanged at $80.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 2 cents to $84.75 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 134.30 Japanese yen from 134.12 yen. The euro fell to $1.0971 from $1.0975.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.


Associated Press

French President Macron urges moderate politicians to regroup to defeat the far right in elections

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday urged moderate politicians from the left and the right to regroup to defeat the far right in the upcoming national legislative elections he had called for after his party’s crushing defeat in the European parliamentary vote. A somber-looking Macron addressed French voters for the first time […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street rallies with bitcoin and gold after inflation unexpectedly slows

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are jumping amid a worldwide rally Wednesday following a surprisingly encouraging update on inflation. The S&P 500 was 1.1% higher in afternoon trading and on track to add to its all-time high set a day earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 57 points, or 0.2%, as of […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Report by UN-backed experts cites crimes by Israeli forces, Palestinian militants starting 0ct. 7

GENEVA (AP) — U.N.-backed human rights experts say in a report issued Wednesday that Israeli forces and Palestinian militants engaged in sexual and gender-based violence during the first months of the Israel-Hamas war. The independent experts, in a detailed chronicling of events that have mostly been reported in the media, said Israeli forces and Palestinian […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Malawi’s vice president and 9 others are confirmed dead after their plane’s wreckage is found

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other people died when the small military plane they were traveling in crashed in bad weather in a mountainous region in the north of the country, the president said Tuesday. Chilima was 51. President Lazarus Chakwera announced that the wreckage of the plane that […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares are mostly lower ahead of Fed decision on interest rates

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mostly lower Wednesday in Asia ahead of a decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates. In Japan, higher inflation and falling wages raised questions about how the central bank can navigate away from near-zero interest rates. The Bank of Japan will issue a policy decision on Friday. In March, […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

4 US college instructors teaching at Chinese university are attacked at a public park

BEIJING (AP) — Four instructors from Iowa’s Cornell College teaching at Beihua University in northeastern China were attacked in a public park, reportedly with a knife, officials at the U.S. school and the State Department said. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday that the injured were rushed to a hospital for treatment, and that […]

2 days ago

Stock market today: Asia trading mixed ahead of earnings