Stock Market Today: Asian Shares Mostly Higher After Wall Street Sets More Records

People wait for traffic lights in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, May 22, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
People wait for traffic lights in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, May 22, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
View All (5)

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian markets were mixed in cautious trading on Wednesday, with most of the regions’ benchmarks climbing after U.S. stocks hit new record highs.

U.S. futures rose while oil prices slipped.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% to 38,719.35 after Japan reported that its trade deficit rose last month as rising costs for imports outpaced an 8% rise in exports from the year before. The data were weaker than analysts had forecast.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.4% to 19,288.93, led by EV makers including Xpeng, whose shares jumped 13.5% Wednesday on better-than-expected earnings in the first quarter.

The Shanghai Composite index logged slimmer gains, rising less than 0.1% to 3,158.64.

In South Korea, the Kospi edged 0.1% higher to 2,726.35. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up less than 0.1% to 7,855.00.

Taiwan's Taiex gained 1.2% as shares in market heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. jumped 2.1%.

Markets in Thailand were closed for a holiday.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 5,321.41 and surpassed its record set last week. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.2% to 16,832.62, a day after setting its latest all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2% to 39,872.99 and is sitting just below its high set last week.

Indexes have risen to records recently largely on expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later this year as inflation cools. More reports showing big U.S. companies earning fatter profits than expected have also boosted the market.

Macy’s joined the chorus line of companies delivering a stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected, and its stock jumped 5.1% following some early fluctuations.

Lam Research also helped support the market after the supplier for the semiconductor industry announced a program to buy back up to $10 billion of its own stock. The company said it will undergo a 10-for-one stock split, which would bring down each share’s price and make it more affordable to more investors. Its stock rose 2.3%.

That helped offset a 3.7% drop for Palo Alto Networks. The cybersecurity company delivered a better profit report than expected, but it gave a forecasted range for revenue in the current quarter whose midpoint was a hair below analysts’ expectations.

Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Donald Trump’s Truth Social network, sank 8.7% after disclosing a net loss of $327.6 million in its first quarterly report as a publicly traded company.

Lowe’s fell 1.9% despite reporting better results for the latest quarter than analysts had feared. It said it’s maintaining its forecast for revenue this year, including a dip of up to 3% for an important underlying sales figure as high interest rates keep a lid on customer activity.

Rates for mortgages, credit cards and other payments have become more expensive because the Federal Reserve has been keeping its main interest rate at the highest level in more than two decades. It’s trying to pull off a tightrope walk where it grinds down on the economy just enough through high interest rates to snuff out high inflation but not so much that it causes a painful recession.

This week doesn’t have many top-tier economic reports, and the biggest potential for sharp moves in the market will likely come from upcoming profit reports.

The week’s headliner is Nvidia, whose stock has rocketed higher amid a frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. It will report its latest quarterly results on Wednesday, and expectations are high.

Target also reports later in the day with Ross Stores following Thursday. They could offer more details on how well spending by U.S. households is holding up. Pressure has been rising on them amid still-high inflation, and it seems to be the highest on the lowest-income customers.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 61 cents to $78.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 64 cents to $82.24 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar edged up to 156.30 Japanese yen from 156.16 yen. The euro was nearly unchanged at $1.0856.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.