AP Business

Stock markets today: Asian stocks mixed ahead of new US data

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Monday ahead of a U.S. economic update this week that is expected to show growth slowing.

Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo advanced. Oil prices fell.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.1% on Friday but ended with a small loss for the week.

U.S. data Thursday are expected to show first-quarter economic growth weakening after interest rate hikes aimed at cooling business activity and inflation. That might encourage the Federal Reserve to postpone or scale down more possible rate hikes at its May meeting.

France and Germany report economic growth Friday following surveys that show European factory activity declining.

“There is no doubt that the global economy is weakening and vulnerable to further slowing,” Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,285.81 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.3% to 28,646.39. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 0.6% to 19,953.05.

The Kospi in Seoul sank 0.8% to 2,524.08 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 7,320.90. New Zealand advanced while Singapore declined.

Forecasters expect Thursday’s data to show U.S. economic growth decelerated to 2% in the first three months of 2023 from 2.6% in last year’s final quarter.

Traders are watching whether the Fed and other central banks can rein in inflation that was near multi-decade highs without tipping the global economy into recession. The Fed is expected to raise its key lending rate one more time at its May meeting and then take a break.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose to 4,133.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1% to 33,808.96. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1% to 12,072.46.

Health care companies and consumer product makers gained ground, offsetting losses in banks, technology stocks and elsewhere. Truist Financial and KeyCorp, two of the larger regional banks, were among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500. Truist fell 6% and KeyCorp ended 3.7% lower.

Investors focused on the corporate earnings and forecasts.

Companies have been beating Wall Street forecasts. Analysts had forecast this would mark the sharpest drop in S&P 500 earnings per share since the pandemic stunned the economy in 2020. Analysts polled by FactSet expect profits to contract by 6.3% for companies in the S&P 500.

Coca-Cola reports results Monday, followed Tuesday by McDonald’s and Google’s parent, Alphabet.

Airplane maker Boeing and Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent, report Wednesday. Investors get details on the health of the airline industry when American Airlines and Southwest Airlines report Thursday, along with internet retail giant Amazon.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 71 cents to $77.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 50 cents on Friday to $77.87. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 71 cents to $80.75 per barrel in London. It gained 56 cents the previous session to $81.66.

The dollar gained to 134.44 yen from Friday’s 134.21 yen. The euro rose to $1.0980 from $1.0977.


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