Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher ahead of Federal Reserve conference

AP , Tuesday 22 Aug 2023

Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Tuesday as traders waited for signs of interest rate plans from this week's Federal Reserve conference.

People stand in the rain in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan s Nikkei 225 index at a
People stand in the rain in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, in Tokyo. (AP

 

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul rose. Shanghai declined. Oil prices edged lower.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index rose Monday for its first gain in five days as tech stocks rallied.

Traders hope officials at the Fed's summer Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference say they are finished raising interest rates that are at a two-decade high. But forecasters warn they might say inflation isn't under control yet.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell “may even mention that further rate hikes cannot be entirely ruled out,” said Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities in a report.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.8% to 31,802.54 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.2% to 17,653.43. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% to 3,090.13.

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.2% to 2,515.07 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was less than 0.1% lower at 7,113.30.

India's Sensex opened up 0.1% at 65,280.66. New Zealand and Singapore declined while other Southeast Asian markets advanced.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.7% on Monday to 4,399.77.

Big Tech stocks lifted the index even though the majority of stocks within it fell. Nvidia jumped 8.5% and Microsoft advanced 1.7%. Tesla rose 7.3% to recover some of last year week's 11% loss. Security software maker Palo Alto Networks jumped 14.8% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 34,463.69. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.6% to 13,497.59.

Traders hope the Fed will decide upward pressure on prices is easing even though consumer inflation accelerated in July to 3.2% from the previous month's 3%. That is down from last year's peak above 9% but more than the Fed's 2% target.

Economists say squeezing out the last bit of inflation may be the Fed's hardest challenge.

The Jackson Hole meeting is closely watched because Fed officials have used it to make announce policy changes in the past.

The Fed indicated in minutes from its July meeting that it would make future decisions based on hiring, inflation and other data.

The government is due to release its monthly jobs report and an inflation update next week.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 20 cents to $79.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 19 cents to $85.27 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 145.94 yen from Monday's 146.11 yen. It rose to $1.0915 from $1.0899.

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