Stock market today: Global stocks mixed after tech shares pull Wall Street lower

Feb 22, 2024

BANGKOK (AP) — Japan’s Nikkei 225 share index surged briefly to an all-time high on Thursday, bypassing its previous record set in December 1989.

By midday Thursday, the index was up 1.6% at 38,861.98 after earlier trading as high as 38,924.88. The Nikkei 225’s previous record was 38,915.87, just before Japan’s bubble economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

Japanese shares have logged sharp gains in recent months, helped by strong interest from foreign investors who account for the majority of trading volume on the Tokyo exchange.

The weakness of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has also attracted investments, despite the prolonged weakness in the economy, which slipped back into a technical recession late last year

Elsewhere in Asia, shares were mixed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3% to 16,452.34 and the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher, to 2,952.76.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.1% at 7,598.00, while the Kospi in Seoul added 0.2% to 2,659.21.

On Wednesday, stocks ended mostly higher on Wall Street after a listless day of trading with big technology stocks again acting as a heavy weight on the market.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,981.80. The benchmark index spent much of the day in losing territory before climbing higher just before markets closed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also eked out a slight gain after losing ground most of the day. It rose 0.1%, to 38,612.24.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.3%, to 15,580.87.

Earnings remained the big focus. After markets closed, Nvidia reported earnings and revenue that handily beat Wall Street forecasts. The chipmaker has tripled over the past year thanks to a surge in investor enthusiasm over artificial intelligence.

Palo Alto Networks was a big loser and a particularly heavy weight on the tech sector. The network security company sank 28.4% after giving forecasts for future billings that came in well below what analysts were looking for. Rival Fortinet slumped 3.8%.

Amazon rose 0.9% following an announcement that it would be added to the Dow. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is leaving the Dow, fell 2.5%

Bond yields gained ground. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.33% from 4.28% late Tuesday.

Technology stocks drove much of the market’s rally that brought it to record highs just last week. The sector is also showing some of the strongest earnings growth. Lopsided contributions from some of the bigger companies in the sector, however, have raised questions about whether the gains were overdone.

Several other companies made big moves following the release of their financial results. Electronic measurement technology company Keysight Technologies fell 6.7% after its profit forecast fell short of analysts’ expectations. Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, jumped 8.8% after beating earnings forecasts.

Toll Brothers rose 3.9% after giving investors an encouraging financial update as it sees strong demand. That helped support gains throughout the homebuilding sector.

Energy companies gained ground as natural gas prices jumped 12.5%. Exxon Mobil rose 2%.

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting in January that showed most officials are worried about moving too fast to cut their benchmark interest. The central bank left the rate alone for the fourth time in a row at that meeting. Investors have all but lost hope that the central bank will cut rates at its March meeting and are looking for the first rate cut to come in June.

Investors have to wait until next week for another key update on inflation. That’s when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and expenses, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation.

Separate measures for consumer and wholesale prices in January show that inflation didn’t cool as much as anticipated. That prompted investors to shift expectations for rate cuts from March to June. A weak report on retail sales added to the disappointing inflation data and raised concerns that stubborn inflation is inflicting more pain on consumers.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 8 cents to $77.99 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 6 cents to $83.09 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 150.32 Japanese yen, up from 150.04 yen. The euro was at $1.0827, nearly unchanged.


AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.

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