WORLD

Stock market today: Asian shares mixed as Japan reports that its exports jumped in December

Jan 22, 2024, 10:56 PM | Updated: Jan 23, 2024, 9:20 pm

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday after Japan reported its exports jumped nearly 10% in December, though shares in Tokyo fell nearly 1%.

Hong Kong advanced while Shanghai declined. U.S. futures were higher and oil prices edged lower.

Japan’s exports grew nearly 3% in 2023 while imports fell 7%, leaving a trade deficit of 9.2 trillion yen, preliminary customs data showed, a sharp drop from the 20.3 trillion yen deficit reported the year before.

But economists are forecasting that the revival in export growth will be short-lived.

“Looking ahead, we expect export growth to slow this year as pent-up foreign demand for Japanese goods eases,” Gabriel Ng of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1% to 36,171.84, on renewed speculation that the Bank of Japan is edging toward shifting away from its longstanding lax monetary policy and negative benchmark interest rate.

In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.4%, to 2,468.61.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.8% to 15,476.85, helped by gains in technology companies like e-commerce giant Alibaba, which surged 4.3%.

The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2% to 2,766.79.

Enthusiasm over a report that China may be preparing major support measures for the markets appeared to have faded, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report, noting that “a sustained recovery in HSI or any other mainland stock market may require stronger conviction regarding a Chinese economic rebound.”

He described the markets’ reaction to the news as “somewhat skeptical and muted.”

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher to 7,520.90.

India’s Sensex gained 0.5% while the SET in Bangkok advanced 0.4%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed to another record as earnings reporting season for big U.S. companies gathered pace.

The index rose 0.3% to 4,864.60. The Nasdaq composite also climbed, up 0.4% to 15,425.94. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3%, a day after topping 38,000 for the first time. It finished at 37,905.45.

Procter & Gamble climbed 4.1% after posting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

United Airlines flew 5.3% higher after it also reported stronger profit for the last three months of 2023 than analysts expected. It made more in revenue from customers in both basic economy and premium seats, though it warned it may lose money in the first three months of this year because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes.

Earnings season is kicking into gear, and more than a dozen companies in the S&P 500 reported their latest quarterly results Tuesday morning. More than 50 are scheduled to follow up later this week, including Tesla and Intel.

Among Tuesday’s headliners was Verizon Communications, which rose 6.7% after beating analysts’ profit estimates. General Electric also topped expectations, but its stock slipped 1% after it gave a forecast for profit this quarter that fell short of analysts’ forecasts. Homebuilder D.R. Horton sank 9.2% after reporting weaker profit than expected.

Analysts have forecast companies in the S&P 500 will deliver weaker overall earnings per share than a year earlier, which would be the fourth such decline in the last five quarters, according to FactSet. But stocks have still rallied to records in anticipation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates several times this year.

Such cuts can boost prices for investments while relaxing the pressure on the economy and financial system.

Treasury yields have already eased considerably since the autumn on expectations for coming rate cuts, though critics warn traders may have gone overboard again in forecasting how many cuts will come and how soon the Fed will begin.

In other trading Wednesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil slipped 10 cents to $74.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 39 cents on Tuesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell 10 cents to $79.45 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 147.89 Japanese yen from 148.38 yen. The euro rose to $1.0865 from $1.0855.

___

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

World

Associated Press

Global leaders condemn Donald Trump’s assassination attempt

HONG KONG (AP) — Global leaders have expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former U.S. President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others, with many condemning the violence that shocked the world. Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at a news conference following a me...

Associated Press

Treason and espionage cases are rising in Russia since the war in Ukraine began

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — When Maksim Kolker’s phone rang at 6 a.m., and the voice on the other end said his father had been arrested, he thought it was a scam to extort money. A day earlier, he had taken his father, prominent Russian physicist Dmitry Kolker, to the hospital in his native Novosibirsk, when […]

8 hours ago

A demonstrator holds a slogan and a small Philippine flag to celebrate the 8th anniversary of an ar...

Associated Press

US renews call on China to stop aggressive actions in disputed sea, where hostilities have flared

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States on Friday renewed its call on China to stop its aggressive actions in the South China Sea, saying a broader web of security alliances has emerged to preserve the rule of law in the disputed waters. Washington’s top diplomat in Manila was joined by counterparts from key Western […]

2 days ago

Joemar Flores stands at his farm in Mindanao, Philippines, May 9, 2024. A growing type of insurance...

Associated Press

Increasingly popular ‘parametric insurance’ helps farmers and others hit hard by extreme weather

MINDANAO, Philippines (AP) — Joemar Flores, a spindly 28-year-old, gestured across his family’s farmland, nestled between a steep hill and a river, and expressed gratitude for the rice paddies in the distance. They’re still there, producing food and an income for him, thanks in part to a novel form of insurance that is increasingly being […]

2 days ago

FILE - Volcanic vortex rings emerge from a new pit crater on the north side of the southeast crater...

Associated Press

American tourist dies after sudden illness during excursion on Sicily’s Mount Etna, rescuers say

ROME (AP) — A 55-year-old American tourist died after being taken ill during an excursion on the southern side of Mount Etna, in Sicily, Italy’s alpine rescue service said Friday. Rescuers said the cause of his illness was still unknown, but warned against the risk of high temperatures coupled with humidity that may prove dangerous […]

2 days ago

In this undated photo provided by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Kirsha Kaechele poses with ...

Associated Press

These Picassos prompted a gender war at an Australian gallery. Now the curator says she painted them

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — They were billed as artworks by Pablo Picasso, paintings so valuable that an Australian art museum’s decision to display them in an exhibition restricted to women visitors provoked a gender discrimination lawsuit. The paintings again prompted international headlines when the gallery re-hung them in a women’s restroom to sidestep a […]

2 days ago

Stock market today: Asian shares mixed as Japan reports that its exports jumped in December