Asian stocks are mostly up after a turbulent day on Wall Street
TOKYO – Asian stocks were mostly higher on Thursday and the dollar rose to 130 yen after the Bank of Japan kept its near-zero interest rate stance unchanged.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.75% to 26,847.90 as Japan’s central bank lowered its outlook for the world’s third-largest economy to take into account rising energy costs and uncertainties raised by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The dollar was trading at 128.43 yen on Wednesday evening. It started the year at around 115 yen.
Some Japanese officials have expressed concern over the weak yen at a time when the costs of imported oil, gas and other raw materials are soaring. But the Bank of Japan has said it intends to maintain ultra-loose lending conditions to help support the sluggish economy, even as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates to counter the surge in the economy. inflation, prompting investors to sell yen to seek higher returns in dollar-denominated assets.
In its economic outlook summary, the BOJ said the main risks were coronavirus outbreaks and “extremely high uncertainties regarding the development of the situation around Ukraine and the associated development of commodity prices, global financial and capital markets and foreign economies”.
Chinese benchmarks were higher after sinking on Wednesday despite a flurry of official comments highlighting efforts to counter the impact of pandemic shutdowns in many cities.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2% to 2,963.54 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 0.8% to 20,105.99.
Strict COVID-19 containment measures in China added to concerns about slowing growth, disruption of the flow of industrial goods and other business activities in Shanghai, home to the world’s busiest port, and other industrial cities including Changchun and Jilin, in northeast China.
Beijing has been carrying out mass testing this week as it decides how much control to impose in the capital.
Elsewhere, the Kospi in Seoul added 1.1% to 2,667.49. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.3% to 7,356.90.
Wall Street ended Wednesday with a lackluster finish as traders braced for more earnings reports from big US companies this week.
The S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and ended with a gain of just 0.2% to 4,183.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.2%, to 33,301.93. The Nasdaq was barely changed at 12,488.93, while the Russell 2000 fell 0.3% to 1,884.04.
The indices rallied from a strong finish late Monday only to tumble Tuesday. They are all down 1.5% or more so far this week.
Investors are focused on the latest round of corporate earnings, which comes amid lingering concerns about rising inflation and rising interest rates. Twitter, Apple and Amazon will release their results on Thursday.
Natural gas prices jumped as much as 24% in Europe on Wednesday and the euro weakened after Russia said it would cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. Natural gas and oil prices were already rising as the pandemic subsided and demand grew, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine added to the price hike.
Oil prices fell on Thursday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 81 cents to $101.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It took 32 cents on Wednesday to $102.02 a barrel.
Brent crude, the standard for international oil pricing, fell 95 cents to $104.00 a barrel.
The euro slipped to $1.0523 from $1.0560.
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