By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were mixed in Asia on Thursday as the latest batch of corporate earnings reports kept investors in a buying mood and pushed benchmarks on Wall Street higher.
Markets in China remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.1% to 27,241.31 while the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1% to 7,078.00. Seoul’s Kospi climbed 1.7% to 2,707.82, catching up with earlier gains elsewhere after South Korean markets reopened after the holidays.
US futures fell, with the contract for the S&P 500 down 1%. That of the Dow Jones industrialists fell by 0.1%.
Investors look at the latest round of corporate earnings to gauge the damage rising costs have had on different industries and how companies will weather inflation going forward.
Most of the companies that reported results for the last three months of 2021 achieved better-than-expected profits and revenues, despite the higher costs they face due to rising inflation.
But investors in Asia were shaken when Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms plunged 22.9% in after-hours trading after its latest quarterly earnings fell short of Wall Street estimates. .
Oil prices fell after major oil-producing countries decided on Wednesday to stick to their plan for a little more oil in the global economy. This will likely keep prices near seven-year highs. The 23-member OPEC+ alliance opted to add 400,000 barrels per day in March.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 55 cents to $87.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had gained 6 cents to $88.26 a barrel on Wednesday.
Brent crude, the basis for international oil pricing, fell 43 cents to $89.04 a barrel.
On Wednesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.9% to 4,589.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% to 35,629.33 and the Nasdaq added 0.5% to 14,417.55. The indices are on pace for strong gains this week.
Smaller company stocks held up against the broader market rally. The Russell 2000 Index fell 1% to 2,029.52.
Traders pushed up shares of several companies that posted strong quarterly results, which helped boost the market overall. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, jumped 7.5% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after saying its digital advertising business propelled a 36% rise in earnings last quarter. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices rose 5.1% after reporting surprisingly strong fourth-quarter financial results and giving investors encouraging sales forecasts.
About three-quarters of companies in the benchmark S&P 500 rose, led by communications services and technology stocks. Healthcare companies also accounted for a large share of the gains. Large retailers and other businesses that depend directly on consumer spending have fallen. Amazon slipped 0.4% and Gap fell 3.3%.
Bond yields fell. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.77% from 1.80% on Tuesday evening.
Markets face a variety of threats, including rising inflation, the prospect of higher interest rates, potential conflict in Ukraine, and the continued slowdown of COVID-19 on economic recovery.
With inflation at its highest level in 40 years, rising costs are threatening profit margins and putting pressure on consumer spending. The Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates in an attempt to rein in price increases. Investors expect the first rate hike in March and at least three more in 2022.
With about 40% of S&P companies having released quarterly results so far this earnings season, about 64% have reported earnings and revenue that beat analyst estimates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Some failed to meet Wall Street’s expectations.
PayPal fell 24.6%, its worst trading day since splitting from eBay in 2015, after reporting a weak quarter and subdued guidance.
In other trading, the US dollar remained unchanged at 114.43 Japanese yen. The euro was stable at $1.1306.
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