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Stock market today: Asian stocks follow Wall St higher ahead of Federal Reserve conference

Aug 20, 2023, 10:57 PM | Updated: Aug 21, 2023, 8:56 pm

The American flag is shown at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. ...

The American flag is shown at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. Stocks shifted between gains and losses on Wall Street Wednesday, keeping the market on track for its fourth monthly loss this year. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Tuesday as traders waited for signs of interest rate plans from this week’s Federal Reserve conference.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul rose. Oil prices edged lower.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose Monday for its first gain in five days as tech stocks rallied.

Traders hope officials at the Fed’s summer Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference say they are finished raising interest rates that are at a two-decade high. But forecasters warn they might say inflation isn’t under control yet.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell “may even mention that further rate hikes cannot be entirely ruled out,” said Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2% to 3,097.77 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 31,776.06. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6% to 17,724.94.

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.5% to 2,522.08 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.1% higher at 7,123.50.

Singapore declined while New Zealand and other Southeast Asian markets advanced.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.7% to 4,399.77.

Big Tech stocks lifted the index even though the majority of stocks within it fell. Nvidia jumped 8.5% and Microsoft advanced 1.7%. Tesla rose 7.3% to recover some of last year week’s 11% loss. Security software maker Palo Alto Networks jumped 14.8% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 34,463.69. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.6% to 13,497.59.

Traders hope the Fed will decide upward pressure on prices is easing even though consumer inflation accelerated in July to 3.2% from the previous month’s 3%. That is down from last year’s peak above 9% but more than the Fed’s 2% target.

Economists say squeezing out the last bit of inflation may be the Fed’s hardest challenge.

The Jackson Hole meeting is closely watched because Fed officials have used it to make announce policy changes in the past.

The Fed indicated in minutes from its July meeting that it would make future decisions based on hiring, inflation and other data.

The government is due to release its monthly jobs report and an inflation update next week.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 1 cent to $80.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 3 cents to $84.43 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 145.93 yen from Monday’s 146.11 yen. It rose to $1.0915 from $1.0899.

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Stock market today: Asian stocks follow Wall St higher ahead of Federal Reserve conference