Asian stocks rise, trailing Wall Street rally

BEIJING – Asian stocks rose on Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street after reports suggested the economy and corporate earnings were doing better than fears.

In Tokyo, data showed that the core consumer price index rose 4.3%, slightly higher-than-expected and ahead of the Bank of Japan’s 2% target.

“This is to cast doubt on an eventual policy change by the central bank, although the government’s energy subsidies could be tapped next month to stall changes for the time being,” Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG, said in a comment.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose almost 0.1% to 27,382.56. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% to 7,493.80. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.6% to 2,484.02. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3% to 22,634.93.

Markets in Shanghai remained closed during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Wall Street stocks climbed to their highest level in nearly eight weeks after the Commerce Department reported the news US economy grew by 2.9% Annual pace in the last quarter, ending 2022 with momentum despite higher interest rates and widespread fears of an impending recession. That beat economists’ forecasts for growth of 2.3%.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1% to hit its highest level since Dec. 2 at 4,060.43. The Dow was up 0.6% to 33,949.41 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.8% to 11,512.41.

More swings could be yet to come as Wall Street digests a growing barrage of earnings and economic reports. The markets have been bouncing up and down lately Fear of a severe recession and earnings decline are battling hopes that the economy can pull off a soft landing and that the Federal Reserve could ease interest rates.

Other reports on Thursday showed that durable goods orders from factories rose more-than-expected in December fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits than expected last week.

Strong data suggests the economy can weather the blizzard of rate hikes by the Fed over the past year, plus at least one more expected next week, without sliding into a deep recession. Higher interest rates intentionally slow the economy by making it more expensive to borrow to buy a home, car, or anything else on credit. They also drag down the prices of stocks and other investments.

But a stronger-than-expected economy, particularly in the labor market, could push the Fed to keep rates higher for longer to ensure inflation is really crushed.

On the earnings front, reports from some big tech-focused companies helped build optimism a day after worries flared after forecasts Microsoft which were generally felt to be discouraging.

Tesla rose 11% after the electric-vehicle maker reported stronger-than-analyst-expected earnings for its latest quarter. Seagate Technology rose 10.9% after reporting better-than-expected sales and earnings.

Steelmaker Nucor was also among the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500, rising 8.4% after beating Wall Street’s earnings and sales forecasts.

Chevron rose 4.9% after increasing its dividend and approving a program to buy back up to $75 billion of its shares. Both moves put cash straight into shareholders’ pockets, something Washington criticized. White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan suggested oil companies instead “use their record profits to increase supply.”

In energy trading, the reference price for U.S. crude oil rose 33 cents to $81.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, it lost 14 cents to $81.01.

Brent crude, the international price standard, was up 35 cents in London to $87.82 a barrel.

In forex trading, the US dollar fell from 130.23 yen to 130.18 Japanese yen. The euro cost $1.0873 compared to $1.0890.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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https://www.local10.com/business/2023/01/26/global-stocks-higher-on-hopes-for-avoiding-recession/ Asian stocks rise, trailing Wall Street rally

Sarah Y. Kim

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