NATIONAL NEWS

Stock market today: Asia mixed after Wall St sinks

May 3, 2023, 10:06 PM | Updated: May 4, 2023, 9:20 pm

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhins...

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Street sank on worries about the health of U.S. banks that are under pressure from interest rate hikes.

Shanghai declined while Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays. Oil prices advanced.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7% on Thursday as investors worried about the health of banks following three high-profile failures in the United States and one in Switzerland.

Shares of PacWest Bancorp, a target of investor scrutiny, tumbled 50.6%. The bank said it was considering options and has been approached by potential partners and investors.

Investors are watching what steps authorities might take to “limit further contagion risks,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report. “Any inaction over the weekend could translate to a more downbeat risk environment to start next week.”

The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.7% to 3,326.18 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6% to 20,063.58.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.3% to 7,213.90. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 4,061.22. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9% to 33,127.74, putting it in negative territory for the year. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.5% to 11,966.40.

Rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe and Asia have put pressure on banks by causing the market prices of bonds on their books to decline. Investors worry depositors might pull money out of lenders that are thought to be troubled, worsening their financial pressures.

Shares of Western Alliance Bancorp plunged as much as 61% after The Financial Times said the Phoenix-based bank was considering selling its business. The company denied the report. Its stock ended the day down 38.5%.

This week, regulators seized First Republic Bank and sold most of it to JPMorgan Chase.

Officials have stressed they see the banking system is sound and secure, but the worries aren’t leaving the market.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced another increase that raised its key overnight rate up to a range of 5% to 5.25% from close to zero early last year.

Traders expect at least a brief U.S. recession this year. They expect the Fed to start cutting rates in the second half of the year to prop up economic growth, though chair Jerome Powell said this week he doesn’t see cuts coming so early.

Investors worry that even without more bank failures, the industry turmoil might lead smaller institutions to reduce lending. That might push up borrowing costs, putting more downward pressure on economic growth.

A report Thursday showed the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment last week accelerated a bit more than expected. A resilient job market is one of the main pillars propping up the slowing economy.

A more comprehensive government report on employment is due out Friday.

The Fed indicated Wednesday it might be finished with rate hikes for now, but the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, on Thursday said, “we are not pausing.” The ECB announced another rate hike but by a smaller margin of one-quarter percentage point.

Helping to support stocks despite all the worries has been a largely better-than-feared earnings reporting season.

Companies in the S&P 500 are still on track to report a second straight quarter of profit drops, but the results have mostly been better than expected.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 43 cents to $68.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4 cents on Thursday to $68.56. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added 47 cents to $72.97 per barrel in London. It advanced 17 cents the previous session to $72.50.

The dollar declined to 134.01 yen from Thursday’s 134.14 yen. The euro gained to $1.1042 from $1.1016.

National News

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan speaks to employees in Washington, Thur...

Associated Press

EPA awards $4.3 billion to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $4.3 billion in grants to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution. The money will go to 25 projects targeting greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electric power, commercial and residential buildings, industry, agriculture and waste and materials management. The grants are paid for by […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares fall after Wall St ends worst week; Biden withdraw from 2024 race

Asian stocks were mostly lower Monday after President Joe Biden exited the 2024 race. The downbeat start to the week followed losses Friday on Wall Street as businesses around the world scrambled to contain disruptions from a massive technology outage. U.S. futures were little changed and oil prices rose. Biden announced his withdrawal from the […]

6 hours ago

FILE - San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris poses for a portrait in San Francisco, June 18...

Associated Press

Vice President Kamala Harris leads list of contenders for spots on the Democratic ticket

President Joe Biden’s decision to step down as the Democratic Party’s nominee for president opens the door for other contenders to become the Democratic nominee in November. The president has thrown his support behind Vice President Kamala Harris, and other prominent Democrats moved quickly to rally around her candidacy, but it’s unclear just how smooth […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Alaska police and US Coast Guard searching for missing plane with 3 people onboard

Alaska authorities are conducting a search for a missing airplane with three people onboard. Alaska State Troopers received a report from the U.S. Coast Guard of a missing plane shortly before 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the state Department of Public Safety said in a statement. The single-propeller, 1948 Beach Craft Bonanza was flying near Mount Crillon […]

6 hours ago

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, arrives to speak at a campaign event ...

Associated Press

JD Vance makes solo debut as GOP vice presidential candidate with Monday rallies in Virginia, Ohio

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — To move overnight to set up Monday rally. Republican JD Vance will make his first solo appearances on the campaign trail Monday, a day after the 2024 presidential race was thrown into upheaval as President Joe Biden dropped out of the race, making the Democratic candidate an open question. Vance, an […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and President Joe Biden arrive for an event in the East ...

Associated Press

Takeaways from a day that fundamentally changed the presidential race

President Joe Biden’s abrupt decision to bow out of the presidential race and endorse Vice President Kamala Harris to be the Democratic candidate against former President Donald Trump caused a political earthquake on Sunday. It also changes the contours of a presidential race — which most voters said they did not want to see — […]

6 hours ago

Stock market today: Asia mixed after Wall St sinks