Asian stocks fluctuated Friday after another all-time record for the U.S. market overnight, as investors weighed the latest corporate earnings and solid economic growth data.
Shares were little changed in South Korea and Japan, where markets reopened after a holiday. Futures pointed lower in Hong Kong. U.S. contracts slipped following a new high for the S&P 500. A mixed batch of earnings reports Thursday included disappointments for Ford Motor Co. and Twitter Inc., and gains for Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Concerns about chip shortages wiped out an earnings-driven advance for Apple Inc.
Treasuries weakened and the dollar was steady in early Asia trade. China’s purchasing managers surveys signaled expansion in manufacturing and services activity in the world’s second-largest economy, after the U.S. reported growth at a 6.4% annualized pace in the first quarter.
Investors are anticipating more support from the government to add the optimism from economic numbers. President Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.8 trillion social package in addition to his infrastructure plans. And there’s no sign yet of the Federal Reserve withdrawing policy accommodation, with Chair Jerome Powell reasserting this week that he’s looking for more progress in the jobs market, andthat inflation pressures are likely temporary.
“All evidence still points to continued support from both fiscal and monetary policy against a backdrop of accelerating corporate earnings,” said Mark Haefele, UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment officer. “This reinforces our view that markets can advance further, with cyclical parts of the market — such as financials, energy, and value stocks — likely to benefit most from the global upswing.”
Meanwhile, copper topped $10,000 a metric ton for the first time since 2011, nearing that year’s record high as the global recovery stokes demand and mines struggle to keep up. Crude oil traded just below $65 a barrel as signs of strengthening demand from the U.S. to China stoked optimism that key markets are turning a corner in their recovery.
For updates and commentary on the markets see the MLIV <GO> blog.
These are some of the main moves in markets:
- S&P 500 futures dipped 0.2% as of 10:11 a.m. in Tokyo. The benchmark index closed 0.7% higher
- Nasdaq 100 contracts fell 0.3%, after the index rose 0.5%
- Japan’s Topix Index was steady
- South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.1%
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.6%
- Hang Seng Index futures dropped 0.3% earlier
- The euro was little changed at $1.2125
- The British pound was at $1.3951
- The Japanese yen traded at 108.87 per dollar
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced two basis points to 1.65%
- Australia’s 10-year yield rose three basis points to 1.75%
- West Texas Intermediate crude traded just below $65 a barrel
- Gold dipped 0.3% to $1,767.10 an ounce