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Stock market today: Asian shares mostly rise as investors look to earnings and inflation signs

YURI KAGEYAMA
April 07, 2024

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian shares mostly rose Monday as investors looked ahead to earnings reports from top global companies and a consumer prices report that will be a gauge for U.S. inflation.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.3% in morning trading to 39,505.33. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,798.10. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3% to 2,723.54. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.8% to 16,856.06, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, up less than 0.1% at 3,071.13.

"As risk sentiments look to bounce from earlier jitters, gains may still be somewhat limited, however, as the lead-up to the key U.S. consumer price index this week could leave some reservations in place," said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

The U.S. government releases its March report on consumer prices later this week.

Wall Street ended last week with a rally after a surprisingly strong U.S. jobs report. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, making up most of the loss from the previous day and moving closer to its record high set last week. The benchmark index still posted its first weekly loss in three weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.2%. Technology companies accounted for a big share of the rally.

U.S. employers added a surprisingly strong 303,000 workers to their payrolls in March, the government reported Friday. The strong job market has helped fuel consumer spending and earnings growth for businesses, amounting to strong economic growth overall.

Treasury yields climbed Friday following the jobs report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.40% from 4.31% just before the report was released. The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for the Fed, rose to 4.75% from 4.65% just prior to the report.

The Fed's benchmark interest rate remains at its highest level in two decades as a result of historic rate hikes meant to tame inflation.

Strong employment and consumer spending have raised concerns about getting inflation below 3% and heading toward the Fed's target rate of 2% won't be easy.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 57.13 points to 5,204.34 Friday. The Dow added 307.06 points to 38,904.04, and the Nasdaq gained 199.44 points to 16,248.52.

Analysts also say energy prices have been rising lately, a sore point for economies like Japan that imports almost all its oil, although it reversed course early Monday.

Adding to the upward pressures have been signs of economic recovery in various regions, which will increase energy consumption. Concerns about the supply and political tensions also tend to push prices higher.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.27 to $85.64 a barrel. It had risen 0.4% higher Friday. Brent crude, the international standards, declined $1.41 to $89.76 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 151.70 Japanese yen from 151.61 yen. The euro cost $1.0842, little changed from $1.0841.

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