WORLD

Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed after another Wall Street record day

Mar 22, 2024, 12:49 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were mixed Friday in Asia after Wall Street tapped fresh records, led by big gains in chipmakers.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 topped 41,000 for the first time early Friday but then fell back, closing up 0.2% lower at 40,888.43.

Chinese property and tech companies weighed on markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2% to 16,527.85 and the Shanghai Composite sank 1% to 3,048.03.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 7,770.60. India’s Sensex rose 0.3% to 72,855.32.

Bangkok’s SET edged 0.1% lower and Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.2%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 5,241.53, setting an all-time high for a third straight day. Three out of every four stocks in the index gained ground.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% to 39,781.37, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2% to 16,401.84. Both indexes added to records set a day earlier.

Micron surged 14.1% and led chipmakers higher after reporting much stronger results for its latest quarter than expected. It also gave a forecast for profit in the current quarter that topped analysts’ estimates, as it benefits from a rush into artificial intelligence.

Chipmaker Broadcom climbed 5.6% and was an even stronger force pushing the S&P 500 upward because of its larger size. It held an investor presentation a day earlier on its opportunities in AI. A general frenzy around AI technology on Wall Street has sent some stocks to dizzying heights.

Reddit climbed 48.4% in its debut as a publicly traded stock. The eclectic bazaar of online communities offered its stock at an initial price of $34 a share.

They helped to more than offset a 4.1% slump for Apple after the Justice Department announced a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker. It accused the tech giant of engineering an illegal monopoly in smartphones that boxes out competitors and stifles innovation.

Accenture was another weight on the market after dropping 9.3%. The consulting and professional services company reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. But its forecast for profit over this full fiscal year fell short of estimates.

Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants fell 6.5% after its revenue forecast for the full fiscal year came up shy of analysts’.

Treasury yields were mostly steady a day after the Federal Reserve said it still expects to make three rate cuts this year. That helped calm some worries on Wall Street that it would pull some cuts off the table following some hotter-than-expected inflation reports.

Lower interest rates would relax pressure on the economy and the financial system. Wall Street expects the Fed to start cutting rates at its meeting in June.

Some reports Thursday morning suggested the U.S. economy is doing better than expected, even in the fact of high rates. Fewer U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, another signal of a remarkably resilient job market.

A measure of manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region unexpectedly grew, while a preliminary look at manufacturing nationwide was also better than expected.

Wall Street will get its next big inflation update next week when the U.S. reports personal consumption and expenditures data for February. It is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. Overall, inflation has eased by several measures since spiking in the middle of 2022, though progress stalled in the first two months of this year.

The Swiss National Bank said it was trimming its key interest rate, a surprise move that makes Switzerland the first major financial center to announce a cut in recent months. The Bank of England kept its main interest rate unchanged at a 16-year high and avoided signaling when it might start to cut even though inflation has dropped sharply.

In other trading early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 53 cents to $80.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 54 cents to $84.70 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 151.39 Japanese yen from 151.65 yen. The euro fell to $1.0822 from $1.0861.

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