Stock market today: Asian stocks gain after Wall St’s latest record. Bank of Japan keeps policy lax

Jan 21, 2024, 8:29 PM

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares mostly rose Tuesday after Wall Street built on its all-time high reached last week, while Japan’s central bank kept its easy credit policy intact.

Shanghai’s benchmark extended its losses, but Hong Kong’s jumped 2.5%. U.S. futures were flat and oil prices edged lower.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.3% to 36,637.03, nudging closer to its all-time record set in 1989, before the implosion of a financial bubble that ushered in an era of slowing growth.

The Bank of Japan cited “extremely high uncertainties surrounding economies and financial markets at home and abroad” in saying it would continue its ultra-lax monetary policy, with its benchmark interest rate staying at minus 0.1%.

A policy statement also said the central bank “will not hesitate to take additional easing measures if necessary.”

Speculation that the BOJ would end the negative interest rate policy, put in place to spur spending and investment, has pulled the Japanese yen sharply lower. As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. dollar bought 147.94 yen, down slightly from 148.11 yen late Monday.

Investors disappointed by China’s decision to keep the loan prime rate unchanged kept selling in Shanghai, where the Composite index shed 0.4% to 2,746.74. It fell 2.7% on Monday.

But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.5% to 15,336.26, helping make up for losses this year that stood at about 12% as of Monday’s close.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4% to 2,473.97 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,524.50.

Bangkok’s SET was nearly unchanged.

On Monday, the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,850.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 38,000 points, rising 0.4% to 38,001.81. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.3% to 15,360.29.

Macy’s climbed 3.6% after the retailer said it rejected a buyout offer from two investment companies, in part because it didn’t offer “compelling value.” SolarEdge Technologies rose 4% after it said it would cut 16% of its workforce, and NuStar Energy jumped 18.2% after Sunoco said it would buy the pipeline and storage company in a deal valued at $7.3 billion, including debt.

They helped offset a 24.2% drop for Archer Daniels Midland, which put its chief financial officer on leave. After getting a document request from U.S. regulators, it said it’s investigating some of its accounting practices. ADM also said it expects to report profit for the full year of 2023 that’s below what analysts were forecasting.

This upcoming week will have a rush of companies reporting their results for the last three months of 2023, with roughly 70 companies from the S&P 500 on the calendar. They include American Airlines, Intel, Procter & Gamble and Tesla.

Analysts are expecting companies in the S&P 500 to report an overall dip in earnings for the fourth quarter, down nearly 2% from a year earlier, according to FactSet. If they’re right, it would be the fourth quarter in the last five where profits have fallen.

On Thursday, the government will give its first estimate for how strongly the economy grew during the last three months of 2023.

Economists expect it to show the economy is still growing, but at a slower pace than during the summer. That’s what the Federal Reserve wants to see, because too strong of an economy would keep upward pressure on inflation.

On Friday, the government will release the latest reading for the inflation gauge that the Fed prefers to use. Economists expect it to show inflation held steady at 2.6% in December from a month earlier.

Treasury yields have eased significantly since October on expectations for coming rate cuts. That in turn has relaxed the pressure considerably on the stock market and helped it to rip higher. Yields dipped further on Monday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 4.09% early Tuesday, down from 4.13% late Friday and from 5% in October.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil was unchanged at $74.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, edged 1 cent higher to $80.05 per barrel.

The euro rose to $1.0896 from $1.0884.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.


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Stock market today: Asian stocks gain after Wall St’s latest record. Bank of Japan keeps policy lax