Stock market today: Asian markets follow Wall St up after Chinese promise to support economy

25 July 2023

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Tuesday after China’s ruling Communist Party promised to shore up its sagging economy ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting traders hope will announce this interest rate cycle’s final increase.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney advanced. Tokyo declined. Oil prices rose.

The Chinese ruling party on Monday promised measures to boost sluggish economic growth by supporting real estate sales and other struggling sectors but gave no details and didn’t mention possible stimulus spending.

Any stimulus is “unlikely to be significant” while Beijing takes a “gradual and targeted approach,” said Andrew McCaffery of Fidelity International in a report

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2% to 3,226.95 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong surged 3.2% to 19,268.04.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3% to 32,598.91 while the Kospi in Seoul advanced less than 0.1% to 2,629.26. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 7,335.40.

India’s Sensex opened up less than 0.1% at 66,403.69. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.4% on Monday ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

The S&P 500 rose to 4,554.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5% at 35,411.24 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.2% to 14,058.87.

Traders expect the Fed on Wednesday to announce another increase in its benchmark lending rate, to a 22-year high. But they hope that will be this year’s final increase after inflation that was near multi-decade highs declined.

Markets hope the Fed can pull off the challenging feat of a “soft landing,” or extinguishing inflation without tipping the U.S. economy into recession.

Traders had expected at least a brief recession to begin this quarter. But they pushed back the timing and scale of the expected slump after U.S. hiring and consumer spending stayed unexpectedly strong.

Roughly 30% of companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to tell investors this week how much they earned from April through June.

They include tech giants Alphabet, Meta Platforms and Microsoft.

Those are three of the seven stocks that accounted for the majority of the S&P 500’s gain in the first half of this year. Each has soared at least 37% this year. They will need to deliver strong numbers to justify their big rallies.

The market’s top stocks have become so big and their movements so influential over the market that Nasdaq rebalanced its Nasdaq 100 index before trading began Monday, to lessen the impact some stocks have on the overall index.

A report on Monday suggested U.S. service industries are growing but more slowly than forecast.

The preliminary report from S&P Global also suggested U.S. manufacturing isn’t doing as badly as feared. Overall, growth in business activity during July appears to be at its slowest in five months.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $78.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.67 on Monday to $78.74. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 15 cents to $82.63 per barrel in London. It gained $1.67 the previous session to $82.74.

The dollar was little-changed at 141.45 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1075 from $1.1071.

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