Stock market today: Asian shares follow Wall Street higher; Activision Blizzard jumps

Jul 11, 2023, 12:10 AM | Updated: 8:30 pm

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher on Wednesday after stocks advanced on Wall Street as investors awaited an update on U.S. inflation that will hopefully show a smaller increase in pain for everyone.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.3% to 18,907.36 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia added 0.3% to 7,131.40. In Seoul, the Kospi rose 0.2% to 2,566.57.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8% to 31,957.86 after North Korea launched another missile into the sea.

The North launched a long-range ballistic missile toward its eastern waters Wednesday, its neighbors said, two days after the North threatened “shocking” consequences to protest what it called a provocative U.S. reconnaissance activity near its territory.

The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% lower to 3,219.30. Shares rose in Taiwan and Bangkok’s SET index was nearly unchanged.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.7% to 4,439.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9% to 34,261.42, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.5% to 13,760.70.

Prime Day sales event.

WD-40 jumped 18.5% after it said revenue grew during the three months through May following two straight quarters of flat to lower sales.

Much of Wall Street’s gains for the day came at the end of trading, with about a third of the S&P 500’s rise happening in the final 20 minutes.

“Although there was some lively action on a handful of stocks, most investors seem to be playing the waiting game ahead of some big U.S. inflation reports,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

The week’s main event will arrive later Wednesday, when the U.S. government will offer the latest update on inflation at the consumer level. Economists expect to see another slowdown, with prices 3.1% higher in June than a year earlier, down from inflation of 4% in May and just above 9% last summer.

The hope on Wall Street is that a continued easing in inflation will convince the Federal Reserve to stop its hikes to interest rates soon. High rates have helped pull down inflation, but they’ve also caused cracks in the banking, manufacturing and other industries while also hurting prices for stocks and other investments.

Later in the week, companies will begin telling investors how much profit they made during the spring, and expectations are largely dim. Analysts are forecasting the sharpest drop in earnings per share for S&P 500 companies since the pandemic was crushing the global economy in the spring of 2020.

Because of the low bar set for companies for the spring, they may be able to squeak past without much heroics.

On the losing side of Wall Street were several cruise operators, which lost momentum following a torrid start to the year. Carnival fell 2.1%, and Royal Caribbean slipped 1.9%. Both, though, are still up more than 100% for the year so far.

Bank of America drifted between losses and gains after regulators ordered it to $250 million in customer refunds and fines. It ended with a gain of 1.3% after regulators said it double-dipped on fees, withheld rewards on credit cards and opened accounts without customers’ knowledge.

In other trading Wednesday, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 17 cents to $75.00 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, the price basis for international trading, was up 22 cents at $78.45 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 139.61 Japanese yen from 140.44 yen. The euro rose to $1.1030 from $1.1011.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.


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Stock market today: Asian shares follow Wall Street higher; Activision Blizzard jumps