October 28, 2021

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Tech stocks lead gains in Asia following rally on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher on Thursday, tracking an overnight rally on Wall Street as investors sought out bargains, including technology stocks.
Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney in morning trading. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for a holiday.

The Shanghai Composite index
was little changed, at 3,560.14, after the government reported a surge in producer price inflation, which rose to a record 10.7% over a year earlier in September from 9.5% in August.

Much of the increase was due to surging coal prices, which appear not to have fed into consumer prices even as parts of the country contend with power shortages, Capital Economics said in a report. Consumer price inflation slipped to 0.7% from 0.8% in August.

Also Thursday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore raised a benchmark interest rate, citing price pressures. The move to allow the Singapore dollar to appreciate slightly against the U.S. dollar, widening the trading band from 0%, coincided with news that the city-state’s economy grew at a 6.5% annual pace in July-September.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225
added 1.4% to 28,544.70 as its new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, prepared to dissolve parliament ahead of an Oct. 31 general election.

South Korea’s Kospi
jumped 1.1% to 2,975.65. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
rose 0.5% to 7,311.70. Hong Kong’s trading was closed for a holiday.

“Asian equities rose on Thursday, following a positive handover from Wall Street where tech and growth sectors outperformed,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500
rose 0.3% to 4,363.80. The Dow
ended flat, slipping 0.53 points to 34,377.81. The tech-heavy Nasdaq
gained 0.7% to 14,571.64. Small company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 index
added 0.3% to 2,241.97.

Most of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors rose, with technology and communication accounting for a On big share of the gains. A mix of companies that rely on consumer spending also helped lift the market. Financial and energy companies fell.
Investors got more insight into the U.S. Federal Reserve’s next policy moves after the central bank released the minutes from its policymakers’ meeting last month.

“You’re starting to get a framework of how they’re going to go about it, and the market is really just desperate for some clarity,” he said. “At least we’re starting to see the game plan,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade.

Fed officials agreed at their last meeting that if the economy continued to improve, they could start reducing their monthly bond purchases as soon as next month and bring them to an end by mid-2022.

Banks were among the heaviest weights on the market. JPMorgan Chase
fell 2.6% after its latest earnings showed that the bank struggled to grow revenues with interest rates at near-zero levels. Falling bond yields also hurt, since lenders rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. American Express
fell 3.5% and Capital One Financial dropped 3.3%.

Delta Air Lines
slid 5.8% for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after warning that rising fuel prices will challenge its ability to remain profitable. It also forecast higher labor costs. United Airlines
fell 3.9% and American Airlines
slid 3.3%.

Investors took the latest update on inflation in stride. Consumer prices rose 5.4% in September from a year earlier, matching the highest rate since 2008. That was slightly higher than economists expected. Many businesses are dealing with supply chain disruptions and delays amid rising demand for goods, and are warning that will increase costs and crimp their financial results.

“There’s a lot of nervousness and anxiety about inflation right now,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “We’re going to see a lot of volatility and shifts in leadership; that’s just part of the transition period we’re in.”

As companies raise prices to offset higher shipping and raw materials costs, analysts are concerned higher prices could stall consumer spending, the key driver for economic growth. The latest report from the Labor Department showed that costs of new cars, food, gas, and restaurant meals all jumped in September.

Investors will get more data on U.S. consumer spending on Friday when the Commerce Department reports retails sales for September.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude
edged up 64 cents to $81.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 20 cents to $80.44 on Wednesday. Brent crude
the international standard, rose 64 cents to $83.82 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 113.50 Japanese yen
from 113.28 yen. The euro
cost $1.1595, inching up from $1.1593.

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