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Stock markets today: Asia mixed ahead of US earnings

Apr 23, 2023, 11:31 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2023, 9:14 pm

A currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in S...

A currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 24, 2023. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday ahead of a U.S. economic update this week that is expected to show growth slowing. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street edged higher as investors awaited U.S. earnings reports and an update on economic growth.

Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo advanced. Oil prices were little-changed.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.1% on Monday after Coca-Cola Co. announced better quarterly profits than expected. Some 170 of the biggest U.S. companies are due to report earnings this week.

Also this week, U.S. government data are expected to show economic growth is slowing following repeated interest rate hikes to cool stubbornly high inflation.

If the economy cools, tech stocks will face a “difficult environment” maintaining high prices that have helped to buoy the market, said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report. He said stocks also face “big risks” from corporate earnings and a battle in Washington over raising the government’s debt limit.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,256.82 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.4% to 28,706.04. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 1.6% to 19,643.00.

The Kospi in Seoul tumbled 1.6% to 2,482.50 after South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic growth in the first quarter, avoiding a technical recession. Korean economic activity expanded by 0.3% over the previous three-month period, rebounding from a 0.4% contraction.

Singapore and Bangkok declined. New Zealand and Australian markets were closed for a holiday.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced to 4,137.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 33,875.40 while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.3%, to 12,037.20.

Analysts expect companies in the S&P 500 to report their worst drop in earnings since the spring of 2020, when the pandemic paralyzed the economy.

Microsoft is due to report earnings Tuesday and Amazon on Thursday. Microsoft fell 1.4% and Amazon dipped 0.7%.

The majority of companies so far this earnings reporting season have been beating forecasts.

Wall Street is also waiting for the first estimate of how quickly the U.S. economy grew in the first three months of the year. Economists expect growth to slow to 1.9% at an annual rate, down from 2.6% in the final quarter of 2022.

Higher rates have already slowed U.S. housing sales by making mortgages more expensive. Manufacturing and other areas of the economy have also shown pain, while the job market has stayed resilient.

The Federal Reserve meets next week. Much of Wall Street expects the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates at least one more time, before likely taking a pause. Many traders are betting the Fed will have to cut rates later this year in order to prop up the economy. But Fed officials have insisted they will keep rates high at least through the end of this year.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 4 cents to $78.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 89 cents on Monday to $78.76. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added 3 cents to $82.57 per barrel in London. It advanced $1.07 the previous session to $82.73.

The dollar rose to 134.37 yen from Monday’s 134.27 yen. The euro gained to $1.1055 from $1.1046.

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