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Stock market today: Asian stocks mixed after Tech stocks pull Wall Street lower with focus on Nvidia

Feb 19, 2024, 10:53 PM

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after technology stocks led Wall Street broadly lower on Tuesday, with investors waiting for chipmaker Nvidia’s quarter earning report.

The report, which will come out later in the day, will put stock markets in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan on alert as these three regions contributed over 45% of Nvidia’s Revenue in the third quarter.

U.S. futures fell while oil prices gained.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost over 0.4% in morning trading at 38,200.00.

Japan’s exports experienced a remarkable year-on-year increase of 11.9% in January, driven by strong demand from chip-making machinery in China, and solid export gains of auto in the U.S. and EU, according to Wednesday data from the Ministry of Finance.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.8% to 16,698.00, driven by Tech Index which advanced 3.6%. The Shanghai Composite was up 1.7% to 2,972.87.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.8% to 7,600.00 despite Wednesday data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing the country’s wage index increased by 4.2% compared to the same period in the previous year, marking the highest recorded annual increase since the March quarter of 2009.

South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4% to 2,647.44.

On Tuesday Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.6% to 4,975.51. It is coming off only its second losing week in the last 16. The losses pushed the benchmark index further below the record it set last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, to 38,563.80. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.9%, to 15,630.78.

Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the market, with chipmakers as a particularly heavy weight. Nvidia slumped 4.4%. It’s still the S&P 500’s biggest gainer so far this year, rising about 40%.

The market fell last week after several pieces of economic data signaled that inflation remains stubbornly high. That stalled a rally that began in late October based on hopes that inflation would cool enough to allow the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

“The narrative that drove us to these levels is very much being called into question,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

At this point, Wall Street is now looking for the first rate cut to come in June, months later than earlier anticipated. Investors have to wait until the end of February for another key update on inflation. That’s when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and expenses, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation.

“The key question to answer now is whether inflation is bottoming out, and if it is, does it go sideways or back up,” Samana said.

Investors have a relatively light week of economic news. Data on home sales will be reported on Thursday. The housing market remains tight as demand for homes continues to outpace supply. Mortgage rates remain high, though they have been easing from their most recent peak in late October, when the average rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 7.79%.

More than 80% of companies in the S&P 500 have reported their latest results. Analysts polled by FactSet expect overall earnings growth of about 3.3% for the fourth quarter and are forecast earnings growth of about 3.6% for the current quarter.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude added 26 cents to $77.30 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 32 cents to $82.66 per barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar dropped to 149.90 Japanese yen from 149.99 yen. The euro cost $1.0815, up from $1.0803.

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