December 1, 2023
Stock market today: Asian shares trade mixed after Microsoft-led Wall Street rally

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday after a rally on Wall Street, which was led by Microsoft after it announced it was hiring Sam Altman, the former CEO of Chatbot maker OpenAI.

US futures were higher while oil prices fell.

Chinese markets were initially relieved by a report by financial magazine Caixin that regulators had drawn up a list of property developers who will be able to access low-cost financing. The steps have been taken to facilitate more lending as the real estate industry is mired in a crisis caused by restrictions on excessive borrowing and the broader economic slowdown.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, erasing earlier gains, rising less than 0.1% to 17,783.77, while the Shanghai Composite fell less than 0.1% to 3,067.93.

“Expectations remain that China’s continuing and deepening property slowdown will be put to rest, if not change; “Particularly as Beijing steps up stimulus efforts to stem the deterioration in the broader housing ecosystem,” Mizuho Bank’s Tan Boon Heng said in a comment.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.1% to 33,354.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% to 7,078.20 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8% to 2,510.42.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.7% to 4,547.38, its third consecutive winning week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% to 33,151.04 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.1% to 14,284.53.

Microsoft was the strongest force lifting the market, and rose 2.1% after saying it was hiring for a new venture following the sudden dismissal of Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI. Microsoft said it will also continue its partnership with OpenAI, as enthusiasm for the artificial-intelligence technology and the huge profits it is expected to garner praise from Wall Street.

Stocks were broadly up throughout the day before recovering when yields in the bond market fell after the Treasury auction in the afternoon. The decline in Treasury yields has driven a strong rally in stocks in recent weeks.

This week has been relatively light on reports that could impact expectations on Wall Street that have underlined the decline in Treasury yields.

Investors are confident that inflation is falling enough that the Federal Reserve can finally deal with a market-crippling increase in interest rates. Traders are also raising their expectations about when the Fed might actually start cutting interest rates.

Despite Fed officials saying they may keep rates high for some time to definitively curb high inflation, traders are thinking the first rate cut could come as early as the summer or perhaps even March . Cutting rates acts like steroids for financial markets and provides oxygen to the financial system.

The Thanksgiving holiday means the US government will release its weekly update on jobless claims on Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday. Besides, the release of minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting on Tuesday and preliminary report on US business activity on Friday are among the highlights.

This could make Nvidia’s upcoming profit report on Tuesday the most high-profile event of the week. Analysts expect its earnings per share to grow fivefold from a year ago and its revenue to rise from less than $6 billion to about $16.2 billion.

Nvidia, which rose 2.3% on Monday, wields heavy influence over the S&P 500 and other indices as it is the fifth-most valuable U.S. stock. Much of this growth has been driven by excitement around AI, and Nvidia’s report may provide clues as to how well all the talk about AI is translating into actual sales.

Best Buy, Deere, HP and Lowe’s will also give their latest quarterly updates this week.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, the centerpiece of the bond market, fell to 4.40% from 4.44% late Friday. The two-year yield, which depends more on expectations of Fed action, declined to 4.89% from 4.90% late Friday.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 61 cents to $77.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.79 on Monday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 58 cents to $81.74 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar fell to 147.59 JPY from 148.37 yen. The euro is priced at $1.0960, up from $1.0941.


AP Business Writer Stan Cho contributed to this report.

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press


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