Asian Shares Mixed After Last Week's Gains On Wall Street

Tokyo was nearly unchanged, Mumbai and Shanghai rose while Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell
Asian Shares Mixed After Last Week's Gains On Wall Street
Asian Shares Mixed After Last Week's Gains On Wall Street

Shares were trading mixed in Asia on Monday after Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Friday, capping a third week of gains out of the last four.

Tokyo was nearly unchanged, Mumbai and Shanghai rose while Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell.

Attention is turning to Wednesday's decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

A report on Friday showed that US inflation is continuing to cool, raising hopes for a smaller increase that's less painful than last year's aggressive hikes. The measure the Fed prefers, which doesn't count food and energy costs, was 4.4 per cent higher in December than a year earlier. That was down from 4.7 per cent inflation in November.

Reports that holiday travel during last week's Lunar New Year festivities was nearly back to normal raised expectations that China's economy may regain momentum faster than anticipated after it relaxed pandemic restrictions late last year.

In the first trading session after a weeklong break, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7 per cent to 3,288.38.

However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.6 per cent on heavy selling of technology shares. E-commerce giant Alibaba sank 5.7 per cent following reports it is building a facility in Singapore that some speculated could become its global headquarters.

The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported that the company had denied it was planning such a change, saying the new campus in Singapore will house regional operations with partners like Lazada. Alibaba is headquartered in the east Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost less than 2 points to 27,381.75. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.3 per cent to 2,451.90 and the S and P/ASX 200 in Sydney was down less than 2 points at 7,492.00.

India's Sensex gained 0.3 per cent and Bangkok's SET edged 0.1 per cent lower.

Shares in some companies in the Adani Group recovered some lost ground after recent massive losses after US short-selling firm Hindenburg Research published a report alleging major problems within India's second-largest conglomerate, which has holdings in energy, data transmission, construction and other major industries.

Its flagship, Adani Enterprises, gained 6.3 per cent and the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. added 3.3 per cent. But shares in other Adani listed companies fell between 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

The Adani Group said it was considering legal action against Hindenburg following its allegations of stock market manipulation and accounting fraud.

On Friday, the S and P 500 rose 0.2 per cent to 4,070.56. It's rallied through January on growing belief inflation is on a steady downswing, hopefully relieving pressure on the economy and markets.

The Dow inched 0.1 per cent higher, to 33,978.08, and the Nasdaq gained 0.9 per cent to 11,621.71.

American Express jumped 10.5 per cent despite reporting weaker profits and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. It gave a forecast for earnings through 2023 that topped Wall Street's expectations and announced a planned increase to its dividend.

Another big gain for Tesla's stock also supported the market. It rose 11 per cent following its stronger-than-expected profit report for the end of 2022 released earlier in the week.

They helped offset a 6.4 per cent loss for Intel following a jarring warning from the chipmaker.

Hasbro fell 8.1 per cent after saying it “underperformed” in this past holiday shopping season and will likely report a 17 per cent drop in revenue for the fourth quarter. The company will cut about 1,000 jobs to reduce costs.

So far, the jobs market has remained remarkably resilient despite a slowing overall economy. Almost all of the high-profile layoff announcements have been within the tech industry, which raced to expand after the pandemic sent demand for technology soaring.

Mixed earnings results have driven some big swings in markets.

Reports on Friday also showed that income growth for Americans slowed in December, while consumer spending fell a bit more sharply than expected.

Economists said Friday's data likely keeps the Fed on track to raise its key benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage points on Wednesday, a step down from its increase of 0.50 points last month and four straight hikes of 0.75 points before that.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which sets rates for mortgages and other important loans, held steady at 3.51 per cent on Monday. The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for Fed actions, held at 4.19 per cent.

In other trading on Monday, US benchmark crude lost 19 cents to USD 79.49 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost USD 1.33 to USD 79.68 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, gave up 21 cents to USD 86.19 per barrel.

The dollar slipped to 129.54 Japanese yen from 129.80 yen. The euro rose to USD 1.0876 from USD 1.0865. 

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