By JOE McDONALD
BEIJING (AP) – Share prices in Tokyo and Sydney followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday while markets in China, South Korea and Southeast Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.7 percent on Tuesday, boosted by gains in energy and technology stocks in late buying.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1.6% to 27,497.60 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.2% to 7,089.90.
New Zealand and Jakarta also increased.
New Zealand on Wednesday reported a record low unemployment rate of 3.2%. Treasury Secretary Grant Robertson said it was an “extremely positive” result and proof that businesses are continuing to hire despite the setbacks of the pandemic.
But political opponents claim the real rate is twice the headline figure, which they say is misleading because it doesn’t count people who aren’t actively looking for work. Statistics New Zealand’s figure has been seasonally adjusted for the quarter ended December and is the lowest since current record-keeping began in 1986.
US stocks are experiencing their worst month since the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago.
Investors are trying to figure out how the economy and corporate profits will be affected by the Federal Reserve’s upcoming interest rate hikes, aimed at cooling inflation that has risen to highs the most in four decades.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose to 4,546.54. It is 5.2% below the all-time high of January 3.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% to 35,405.24. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7% to 14,346.
Exxon Mobil rose 6.4% after the company reported strong fourth-quarter profit. Hewlett Packard Enterprise rose 2.9%.
The virus pandemic remains a protracted threat, and each new variant could bring a new set of circumstances that threaten businesses and consumer operations.
Fed officials said in mid-December, plans to ease bond purchases and other stimulus measures that are driving prices will be accelerated to cool inflation.
Consumers continue to spend despite rising prices, but retail buying forecasters could weaken and stifle economic growth.
Investors expect the Fed to raise rates at least four times this year, starting in March.
On Friday, the Labor Department reports US jobs for January.
In the energy market, benchmark US crude rose 13 cents to $88.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 5 cents on Tuesday to $88.20. Brent crude, the base price for international grades, rose 18 cents to $89.34 a barrel in London. It fell 10 cents in the previous session to $89.16.
The dollar rose to 114.73 yen from Tuesday’s 114.71 yen. The euro rose to $1.1277 from $1.1254.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/02/01/asian-stocks-follow-wall-st-higher-with-china-korea-closed/ Asian stocks follow Wall St with China, South Korea closed – San Bernardino Sun