Stock market today: Asian shares track Wall Street’s rebound

Feb 15, 2024

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Shares rose in Asia on Thursday after Wall Street stocks recovered much of their sharp losses from a day before.

Oil prices declined.

Benchmarks rose in most major markets apart from Seoul, while mainland Chinese markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Japan reported its economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.4% in the last quarter of 2023, the second straight quarter it shrank after a 2.9% decline in July-September.

Britain also reported its economy entered a technical recession in October-December, contracting 0.3% from the previous quarter.

Japan’s nominal GDP totaled $4.2 trillion last year, or about 591 trillion yen, putting it behind the U.S., China and Germany as the world’s fourth largest economy. Germany earlier announced its GDP in 2023 was $4.4 trillion, or $4.5 trillion, depending on the currency conversion.

The extended weakness further undermined expectations that the Bank of Japan might tighten its ultra-lax monetary policy and raise its benchmark interest rate from its longstanding level of minus 0.1%. Cheap credit is good for markets, and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.2% to 37,948.35.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index climbed 0.6% to 15,971.18.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.8% to 7,605.70. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3% to 2,613.80.

Taiwan’s Taiex jumped 3% to a record high close at 18,644.57 as TSMC, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, reported its revenue jumped nearly 8% in January from a year earlier.

India’s Sensex was up 0.4%.

The SET in Bangkok edged 0.1% higher.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 climbed 1% to 5,000.62, clawing back more than two-thirds of its loss from Tuesday. A hotter-than-expected report on inflation dented expectations the Federal Reserve will soon begin cutting interest rates, a big reason stocks have rallied to records recently.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to 38,424.27 a day after after taking its worst loss in nearly 11 months. The Nasdaq composite jumped 1.3% to 15,859.15.

The smallest stocks, which took the hardest hit from worries about higher interest rates on Tuesday, bounced back more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index leaped 2.4%.

Calm on the bond market helped to keep things steadier on Wall Street. Treasury yields eased after shooting upward a day earlier on expectations the Fed would keep rates high for longer. The central bank has already jacked its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001 to slow the economy to bring inflation down to its target.

Nvidia, which has been surfing a mania around artificial-intelligence technology, rose 2.5% Wednesday. It was the single strongest force lifting the S&P 500 index.

DaVita jumped 8.6% for one of the S&P 500’s larger gains after the health care company reported stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Most companies in the S&P 500 have been topping analysts’ forecasts for the last three months of 2023. Hopes for stronger growth in 2024 from a solid economy have been another reason the S&P 500 has set 10 records already this year.

Lyft shares leaped 35.1% after a wild ride in off-hours trading driven in part by a typo in its latest earnings report. The ride-hailing company reported stronger results than analysts expected, but its press release also said it expects a key measure of profitability to improve by 500 basis points, or 5 percentage points. Later, it said that should have been 50 basis points, or 0.5 percentage points.

Lyft’s stock rocketed by more than 60% in after-hours trading Tuesday following the typo.

Rival Uber Technologies rose 14.7% after its board authorized a program to buy back up to $7 billion of its stock.

On the losing end, Akamai Technologies dropped 8.2% after it reported mixed results.

Online vacation rental booker Airbnb slipped 1.7% after it reported losing $349 million in the fourth quarter due to an income tax settlement with Italy.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 20 cents to $76.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 18 cents, to $81.42 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 150.14 Japanese yen from 150.46 yen. The euro rose to $1.0738 from $1.0731.

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