Asian shares mostly gain after firm finish on Wall Street

by Jonathan Adams
Wall Street banks

Nikkei 225 climbed 1.7% to 40,120.11, S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 7,813.80, Kospi gained 0.8% to 2,728.82, Hang Seng shed 1.2% to 16,725.10, and the Shanghai Composite lost almost 0.2% to 3,069.30

Asian shares mostly gained Thursday after a firm finish on Wall Street, as expectations remained solid for U.S. interest rate cuts this year.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 climbed 1.7% to 40,120.11. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 7,813.80. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.8% to 2,728.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.2% to 16,725.10, and the Shanghai Composite lost almost 0.2% to 3,069.30.

Analysts say Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) facilities may get quicker-than-expected relief — easing worries about production halts — after a powerful earthquake struck Wednesday, killing at least nine people. Trading was closed in Taiwan on Thursday and Friday for national holidays.

Market participants took comfort in the weaker-than-expected U.S. services purchasing managers index (PMI) overnight, which offset the surprise rebound in manufacturing activities earlier in the week and indicate that overall demand may still remain tame for the Fed’s inflation fight, according to IG market analyst Yeap Jun Rong.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 5.68 points, or 0.1%, to 5,211.49 The DJIA slid 43.10, or 0.1%, to 39,127.14, and the Nasdaq composite advanced 37.01, or 0.2%, to 16,277.46.

GE Aerospace helped lead the S&P 500 with a rise of 6.7%. It was the second day of trading for the firm after splitting off its power and energy business to mark the end of the General Electric conglomerate. Cal-Maine Foods added 3.6% after reporting stronger-than-expected profit for the latest quarter by selling a record number of eggs.

They helped offset an 8.2% decline for Intel, which disclosed financial details about key parts of its business for the first time, including its money-losing foundry business. The Walt Disney Co. dropped 3.1% after shareholders voted against appointing an activist investor to its board who had promised to shake up the firm to lift its stock price. The pair’s declines were a large reason the Dow lagged other indexes.

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