Stock market today: Asian stocks are mixed ahead of this week’s Fed meeting

Jun 11, 2024



HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday in a busy week with several top-tier reports on U.S. inflation due along with a policy meeting of the Federal Reserve.

U.S. futures and oil prices fell.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.1% at 39,092.32 as investors awaited the outcome of a meeting by the Bank of Japan. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate in March to a range of 0 to 0.1% from minus 0.1%, in its first such increase in 17 years.

Analysts said markets were leaning toward two rate hikes by the end of this year, with broad expectations of further rate increases as soon as July.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 1.1% to 18,165.21, and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.9% to 3,023.46 after reopening from a public holiday. Markets remained cautious ahead of a report on inflation in China due out Wednesday.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.4% to 7,748.30. South Korea’s Kospi was 0.3% higher to 2,709.87.

On Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 5,360.79, topping its all-time high set last week. The Nasdaq composite also set a record after rising 0.3% to 17,192.53, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 38,868.04.

Data on the economy have come in mixed recently, and traders are hoping for a slowdown that stops short of a recession and is just right in magnitude. A cooldown would put less upward pressure on inflation, which could encourage the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate from its most punishing level in more than two decades.

But the numbers have been hard to parse, with Friday’s stronger-than-expected jobs report coming quickly on the heels of weaker-than-expected reports on U.S. manufacturing and other areas of the economy. Even within U.S. consumer spending, the heart of the economy, there is a sharp divide between lower-income households struggling to keep up with still-high inflation and higher-income households doing much better.

Companies benefiting from the AI boom are continuing to report big growth almost regardless of what the economy and interest rates are doing.

Nvidia, for example, is worth roughly $3 trillion and rose 0.7% Monday after reversing an early-morning loss. It was the first day of trading for the company since a 10-for-one stock split made its share price more affordable to investors, after it ballooned to more than $1,000 amid the AI frenzy.

Treasury yields were mixed in the bond market ahead of reports later in the week that will show whether inflation improved last month at both the consumer and wholesale levels.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will announce its latest decision on interest rates. Virtually no one expects it to move its main interest rate then. But policy makers will be publishing their latest forecasts for where they see interest rates and the economy heading in the future.

The last time Fed officials released such projections, in March, they indicated the typical member foresaw roughly three cuts to interest rates in 2024. That projection will almost certainly fall this time around. Traders on Wall Street are largely betting on just one or two cuts to rates in 2024, according to data from CME Group.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.46% from 4.43% late Friday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, slipped to 4.88% from 4.89%.

In other dealings, U.S. benchmark crude oil gave up 3 cents to $77.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, was down 14 cents to $81.49 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 157.25 Japanese yen from 157.04 yen. The euro climbed to $1.0770 from $1.0766.

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