Asian stock markets advance after new Wall Street high

By: |
April 14, 2021 10:33 AM

Tech and consumer stocks gained on optimism the vaccine rollout will allow business activity to return to normal.

asian marketShanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney rose, while Tokyo was off less than 0.5 per cent. (Photo source: AP)

Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after Wall Street hit a high following an uptick in US inflation and an order by regulators to suspend use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney rose, while Tokyo was off less than 0.5 per cent.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.3 per cent higher in choppy trading. Tech and consumer stocks gained on optimism the vaccine rollout will allow business activity to return to normal. J&J declined after U.S. regulators suspended use of its single-dose vaccine to investigate possibly dangerous blood clots.

The U.S. government reported consumer prices increased by a stronger-than-expected 0.6 per cent in March, the fastest rate since 2012. Higher inflation normally fuels fears interest rates might be raised to keep prices stable, but the Federal Reserve has said the economy will be allowed to run hot to ensure a recovery is in place.

Traders took the well-telegraphed inflation pick-up in stride, said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report. Market also are seemingly unfazed by the J&J suspension.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent to 3,408.51 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3 per cent to 29,676.30. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 1.2 per cent to 28,849.09.

The Kospi in Seoul was up less than 0.1 per cent at 3,171.18 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent to 7,022.30. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore declined.

Investors have been encouraged by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines despite renewed disease outbreaks that have prompted some governments to tighten or reimpose business and trade curbs.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,141.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to 33,677.27. The Nasdaq, which has more technology stocks, gained 1.1 per cent to 13,996.10.

Apple rose 2.4 per cent and Microsoft gained 1 per cent. Technology stocks have been boosted by expectations Americans will shift even more to online buying and entertainment following the pandemic. Johnson & Johnson fell 1.3 per cent. Moderna, which also makes a COVID-19 vaccine, climbed 7.4 per cent.

Worries about the potential loss of a vaccine option also pulled down companies that are counting on pandemic restrictions easing. American Airlines slipped 1.5 per cent and Delta Air Lines fell 1.1 per cent.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell to to 1.62 per cent from Monday’s 1.67 per cent. JPMorgan Chase fell 1.2 per cent and Wells Fargo lost 2.4 per cent.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 39 cents to USD 60.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 48 cents on Tuesday to close at USD 60.18. Brent crude, the international price standard, gained 43 cents to USD 64.10 per barrel in London. It added 39 cents the pervious session to USD 63.67 a barrel.

The dollar declined to 108.87 yen from Tuesday’s 109.09 yen. The euro rose to USD 1.1961 from the previous sessions’s USD 1.1946.

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