BANGKOK – Asian stocks were mixed on Friday after a mixed day on Wall Street, where benchmarks fell after another upbeat inflation report.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 2.6%, catching up after Thursday’s exit. Hong Kong and Seoul also advanced, while Shanghai and Sydney declined. US futures rose, while oil prices fell.
Markets got a boost on Thursday after a report showed wholesale inflation slowed more than economists expected last month. That came a day after cooler-than-expected consumer inflation data raised hopes among investors that inflation may be nearing a peak and that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates less aggressively than feared.
Inflation is still excruciatingly high and the economy has given false signals before that relief was on the way just for investors to pull the rug out from under them. Some Fed officials also commented after Wednesday’s inflation report, suggesting their fight against rising prices is far from over.
“Stocks failed to sustain strong gains after reports showed inflation had peaked. After some pushback from the Fed, Wall Street is starting to second-guess how quickly the Fed can move to slow rate hikes, OANDA’s Edward Moya said in a comment.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 727.65 points to 28,546.98. Seoul’s Kospi was up 0.2% at 2,527.94, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.2% at 20,125.53.
Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.5% at 7,032.50, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2% at 3,276.65. Stocks fell in India but rose in Taiwan.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower at 4,207.27 on Thursday but was still on pace for its fourth straight weekly gain. The Nasdaq was down 0.6% at 12,779.91, while the Dow was up 0.1% at 33,336.67. The Russell 2000 index of small companies rose 0.3% to 1,975.26. Three indexes are also up for the week.
There is enough hope for peak inflation and Fed aggressiveness that the S&P 500 has roughly halved its year-to-date losses. It is up more than 14% from its mid-June bottom.
Technology stocks and other investments hit by the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes earlier in the year were among the strongest performers, with the Nasdaq up more than 20% from June lows.
Technology and health care stocks were among the biggest weights in the S&P 500, holding back gains in energy companies, banks and other sectors.
Walt Disney Co. jumped 4.7% after the entertainment company reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit.
Concerns about a possible recession continue to hang over the market as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to fight inflation.
A report on Thursday showed that fewer US workers filed for unemployment last week than expected, a potentially encouraging sign of layoffs. But it was still the highest figure since November.
Traders are now betting the Fed will raise interest rates by half a percentage point at its meeting next month, up from the Fed’s last two hikes of 0.75 percentage points. Even if the Fed manages to slow the economy enough to stop inflation without causing a recession, higher interest rates will reduce the prices of all types of investments.
Treasury yields were mostly higher on Thursday, with the 10-year yield rising to 2.89% from 2.79% late Wednesday, a big move.
This is still below the two-year yield of 3.21%. This is a relatively unusual occurrence, which some investors see as a fairly reliable signal of recession expectations, although the gap between the two has narrowed somewhat.
In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 31 cents to $94.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $2.41 to $94.34 a barrel on Thursday.
The price of Brent oil, which is the basis for forming prices at international markets, decreased by 16 cents to 99.44 dollars per barrel.
The US dollar rose to 133.26 Japanese yen from 133.03 yen. The euro fell to $1.0319 from $1.0322.
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