After a modest one-day gain on Wall Street, stocks in Asia edged higher as buying energy and technology stocks
BANGKOK – Shares in Asia rose on Thursday as buying energy and technology stocks followed modest gains on Wall Street. Oil prices also rose.
Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul but fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Other regional markets were up.
In a quiet news week, investors are watching the US Labor Department report on Friday that economists forecast that employers added more than 650,000 jobs in the past month. New clues are expected about the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate policy move later this month, when the central bank holds its next meeting of policymakers.
Expectations of a strong growth in hiring have raised concerns about inflation and how the world’s central banks may react to it. Worryingly, global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks had to withdraw stimulus to deal with rising prices.
“Equity markets have indicated that inflation has been picking up recently, and we suspect they will continue to do so for some time,” Oliver Jones of Capital Economics said in a commentary.
Rapid price increases are overtaking demand recovery, partly due to supply constraints, and are likely to ease over time, he said.
The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% to 7,260.00, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.9% at 29,035.03.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,208.12, as strength in technology, energy and real estate stocks offset a pullback in retailers and other companies dependent on consumer spending. Communications, industrial and material stocks also declined. Treasury yields fell mostly after rising the day before.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% to 34,600.38. The Nasdaq recovered from an early fall, up 0.1% to 13,756.33.
Shares of smaller companies also rose marginally. The Russell 2000 Index rose 0.1% to 2,297.83.
Shares of movie theater operator AMC Entertainment nearly doubled in another round of heavy trading as the company embraced its status as a “meme” stock driven by hordes of individual investors. Other stocks like GameStop that have been championed on online message boards and social media also rose.
“Payrolls will help clarify where the Fed stands,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Until then, with the exception of small-cap mem stocks, it will be difficult for the market to find real direction.”
Bond yields declined. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.59%.
Technology companies did the heavy lifting for the S&P 500. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 3.2%. Payment processor Visa rose 1.3% after giving investors an encouraging financial update.
Etsy jumped 7.1% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 when the online craft marketplace said it would buy Depop, an app that has been used to buy used clothing and vintage fashion since the early 2000s. and is popular among young people looking to sell.
Energy companies also posted broad gains as oil prices rose more than 1%. Occidental Petroleum rose 2.7% and Schlumberger led all S&P 500 stocks with a 7.7% gain.
US benchmark crude rose 32 cents to $69.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it rose $1.11 to $68.83 a barrel. International pricing benchmark Brent crude rose 40 cents to $71.75 a barrel.
The US dollar was trading at 109.81 Japanese yen, up from 109.57 yen late on Wednesday. The euro fell from $1.2212 to $1.2190.