WORLD

Stock market today: Asian shares mixed in muted trading after Wall Street barely budges

May 12, 2024, 9:55 PM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 8:30 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Tuesday after U.S. stock indexes were little changed ahead of the release of inflation data.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost early gains and was trading less than 0.1% higher at 38,194.38.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2% to 7,731.40. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 2,726.76. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up less than 0.1% at 19,115.78, while the Shanghai Composite lost nearly 0.3% to 3,139.89.

Investors were watching for indicators on inflation to gauge the direction of economic growth, as well as the strength of the dollar.

“Today marks a significant day for both Germany and the U.S.A. as they are set to unveil crucial economic data,” said Luca Santos, market analyst at ACY Securities, referring to consumer price data from Germany and producer costs in the U.S.

“Despite their different focuses, both indices offer insights into how inflation is shaping society,” said Santos.

On Monday, the S&P 500 edged down less than 0.1%, to 5,221.42 after flipping between small gains and losses through the day. It remains within 0.6% of its record set at the end of March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 39,431.51, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.3%, to 16,338.24.

Biopharmaceutical company Incyte jumped 8.6% after saying it would buy back up to $2 billion of its stock. It’s the latest big company to say it’s returning cash to shareholders through such purchases, which boost the amount of earnings that each remaining share is entitled to.

GameStop soared 74.4% in a swing reminiscent of its maniacal moves from three years ago, when hordes of smaller-pocketed investors sent the stock’s price way above what many professional investors considered rational.

Stocks have broadly rallied this month following a rough April on revived hopes that inflation may ease enough to convince the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate later this year. A key test for those hopes will arrive Wednesday, when the U.S. government offers the latest monthly update on inflation that households are feeling across the country.

Other reports this week include updates on inflation that wholesalers are seeing and sales at U.S. retailers. They could show whether fears are warranted about a worst-case scenario for the country, where stubbornly high inflation forms a devastating combination with a stagnating economy.

Hopes have climbed that the economy can avoid what’s called “stagflation” and hit the bull’s eye where it cools enough to get inflation under control but stays sturdy enough to avoid a bad recession. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell also gave financial markets comfort when he recently said the Fed remains closer to cutting rates than to raising them, even if inflation has remained hotter than forecast so far this year.

A stream of stronger-than-expected reports on U.S. corporate profits has helped support the market. Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report growth of 5.4% for their earnings per share in the first three months of the year versus a year earlier, according to FactSet. That would be the best growth in nearly two years.

Earnings season has nearly finished, and reports are already in for more than 90% of companies in the S&P 500. But this upcoming week includes Walmart and several other big names. They could offer more detail about how U.S. households are faring.

Worries have been rising about cracks showing in spending by U.S. consumers, which has been one of the bedrocks keeping the economy out of a recession. Lower-income households appear to be under particularly heavy strain amid still-high inflation.

The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that it will raise tariffs on electric vehicles, semiconductors, solar equipment, and medical supplies imported from China, according to people familiar with the plan. Tariffs on electric vehicles, in particular, could quadruple to 100%.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 4 cents to $79.16 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 3 cents to $83.39 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 156.43 Japanese yen from 156.20 yen. The euro cost $1.0790, down from $1.0793.

___

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

World

Associated Press

Stock market today: Global shares tumble after a wipeout on Wall Street as Big Tech retreats

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares retreated on Thursday, with Tokyo’s benchmark losing more than 1,300 points at one point and closing down more than 3%, as pessimism set in over a nose-dive on Wall Street. France’s CAC 40 slipped 1.5% in early trading to 7,400.08. Germany’s DAX fell 1.2% to 18,161.70, while Britain’s FTSE 100 […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

NORAD says it tracked Chinese and Russian military planes off Alaska

BEIJING (AP) — Two Chinese and two Russian military planes were tracked flying over international waters near Alaska and U.S. and Canadian fighter jets were sent up in response, their joint aerospace command said. The Chinese and Russian military activity Wednesday was not seen as a threat, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Coco Gauff of the U.S. plays a shot against Poland's Iga Swiatek during their semifinal matc...

Associated Press

Coco Gauff to be female flag bearer for US team at Olympic opening ceremony, joining LeBron James

PARIS (AP) — Tennis star Coco Gauff will join LeBron James as a flag bearer for the US Olympic team at Friday’s opening ceremony. Gauff, the reigning US Open champion, is set to make her Olympic debut and will be the first tennis athlete to carry the US flag. She and James were chosen by […]

23 hours ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks about Salt Lake City's bid to host the 2034 Winter Olympics, during th...

Associated Press

IOC awards 2034 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. Utah last hosted the Olympics 32 years ago

PARIS (AP) — Salt Lake City will be an Olympics host again after the IOC formally awarded the 2034 Winter Games to the United States bid on Wednesday. The capital city of Utah was the only candidate since the International Olympic Committee gave Salt Lake City exclusive negotiating rights last year in the process that […]

23 hours ago

FILE - Simone Biles competes on the uneven bars at the United States Gymnastics Olympic Trials on S...

Associated Press

Biles, Richardson, Osaka comebacks ‘bigger than them.’ They highlight issues facing Black women

PARIS (AP) — When Naomi Osaka lifts her racket on the red clay courts at Roland Garros during the Paris Olympics later this month, it’ll represent more than a high-stakes competition for the tennis star. For Osaka, a four-time grand slam champion, it’s an important step in her journey after returning to tennis earlier this […]

1 day ago

FILE -Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council speaks at a ceremony in ...

Associated Press

Sudan paramilitary leader plans to attend cease-fire talks in Switzerland hosted by US, Saudi Arabia

GENEVA (AP) — Sudan’s paramilitary leader has announced plans to attend cease-fire talks in Switzerland next month arranged by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces fighting Sudan’s army, expressed hope on social media late Tuesday that the talks would become “a major step” toward peace […]

1 day ago

Stock market today: Asian shares mixed in muted trading after Wall Street barely budges