Stock market today: Asian stocks are mixed after Wall Street slips to its worst loss in 4 months

Feb 1, 2024


Wall Street inched higher in premarket trading Thursday, a day after the biggest single-day downturn since September with the Federal Reserve indicating that cuts to interest rates are not imminent.

Futures for the S&P 500 gained 0.4% before the bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up just 0.1%.

The Fed on Wednesday left its main interest rate steady and made clear it does not expect conditions for a cut rate “until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward” its goal of 2%.

“We’re not declaring victory at all,” said Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday.

Powell also said Fed officials need to see more data to confirm inflation is heading sustainably lower. “We have confidence,” he said. “It has been increasing, but we want to get greater confidence.”

Treasury yields in the bond market gyrated following the Fed’s announcement. They had been lower earlier following softer-than-expected reports on the economy.

U.S. data released Wednesday showed that growth in pay and benefits for U.S. workers was slower in the final three months of 2023 than economists expected. While all workers would like bigger raises, the cooler-than-expected data could further calm what was one of the Fed’s big fears: that continuing pay gains would trigger a vicious cycle that prevents inflation from easing.

More employment data is coming Thursday with the weekly jobless claims report. On Friday, the government issues new jobs numbers for the first month of 2024.

Shares of Align Technology jumped more than 12% in off-hours trading after the manufacturer of 3D digital scanners and Invisalign teeth straighteners beat Wall Street’s sales and profit targets.

On Wednesday, Big Tech stocks burned by the downside of high expectations triggered a sharp slide, dragging the Nasdaq composite to a market-leading loss of 2.2%.

The S&P 500 dropped 1.6% for its worst day since September. The Dow industrials fell 0.8%.

Alphabet was one of the heaviest weights on the market, shedding 7.5%. Microsoft fell 2.7% and Tesla lost 2.2%.

Three more Big Tech stocks will report results on Thursday: Amazon, Apple and Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced, but ceded much of its early gains. It was up 0.5% at 15,566.21, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 2,770.74.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.8% to 36,011.46 and the Kospi in Seoul climbed 1.8% to 2,542.46.

India’s Sensex edged 0.1% lower to 71,662.39 after the government announced a short-term budget to cover spending until national elections are held by May. The plan increases spending on construction projects and building homes for poor villagers. It cuts the government’s deficit by reducing subsidies.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 skidded 1.2% to 7,588.20.

Bangkok’s SET rose 0.4%.

Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1% and the CAC 40 in Paris sank 0.7%.

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3% after the Bank of England said it’s keeping its main interest rate at a near 16-year high as inflation in Britain unexpectedly rose to 4% in December.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 3.94% early Thursday, up from 3.92% late Wednesday. In October, it was above 5% and at its highest level since 2007.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 37 cents to $76.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, advanced 40 cents to $80.95 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 147.09 Japanese yen from 146.92 yen. The euro fell to $1.0812 from $1.0817.

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