Stock market today: Asian shares mixed after calm day on Wall St

May 6, 2024, 11:30 PM | Updated: May 7, 2024, 10:10 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday after U.S. stocks held relatively steady on Wall Street.

U.S. futures and oil prices slipped, while the yen weakened further against the U.S. dollar.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.5% to 38,244.76. Nintendo Co.’s share price sank 5.2% after the company’s forecasts disappointed investors and it announced that news of a successor product to its popular Switch device will be made by March 2025.

Market players are watching to see how authorities react to the yen’s persisting weakness against the U.S. dollar.

The dollar rose to 155.14 Japanese yen from 154.50 yen. Japanese officials have expressed concern after the yen’s value slipped to 160.25 per dollar in recent days, prompting the Ministry of Finance to intervene.

“Exchange-rate moves could have a big impact on the economy and prices, so there’s a chance we may need to respond with monetary policy,” Kazuo Ueda, governor of the Bank of Japan, told lawmakers on Wednesday.

A weak yen helps the profits of Japanese companies that earn much of their revenue overseas, but fluctuations in rates can upend planning and the yen’s weakness has severely eroded the purchasing power of both households and businesses, pushing up costs of imports of food and energy, among other things.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.4% to 18,410.20 and the Shanghai Composite index also gave up 0.4%, falling to 3,134.75.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 7,795.70, while the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1% higher, to 2,736.20.

Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.1%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 edged 0.1% higher, to 5,187.70. It was a quiet day following three straight leaps for the index of at least 0.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1%, to 38,884.26, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%, to 16,332.56.

Kenvue, the company whose brands include Band-Aids and Tylenol, rose 6.4% after topping analysts’ forecasts for both profit and revenue in the latest quarter.

The Walt Disney Co. sank 9.5% despite reporting stronger results for its latest quarter than analysts expected. Its revenue fell a bit shy of forecasts, and it expects its entertainment streaming business to soften in the current quarter.

They’re among the tail end of companies reporting their results for the first three months of the year. Most companies have beat their forecasts for earnings, but they’re not getting as big a boost to their stock prices afterward as they usually do, according to FactSet. Not only that, companies that fall short of profit expectations have seen their stock prices sink by more the following day than they have historically.

That could suggest investors are listening to critics who have been calling the U.S. stock market broadly too expensive following its run to records this year. For stock prices to climb further, either profits will need to grow more or interest rates will need to fall.

Wall Street still considers the latter a possibility this year following some events last week that traders found encouraging.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank remains closer to cutting its main interest rate than hiking it, despite a string of stubbornly high readings on inflation this year. A cooler-than-expected jobs report on Friday, meanwhile, suggested the U.S. economy could pull off the balancing act of staying solid enough to avoid a bad recession without being so strong that it keeps inflation too high.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 33 cents to $78.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 10 cents on Tuesday to $78.38 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined 38 cents to $82.78 per barrel.

The euro dropped to $1.0742 from $1.0755.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

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Stock market today: Asian shares mixed after calm day on Wall St