BANGKOK – Asian shares mostly rose Tuesday after a rebound on Wall Street, despite regional investor risks reflected in negative economic data out of China.
The benchmark in Tokyo was little changed, erasing earlier gains, but indexes in South Korea and Australia gained. Hong Kong's benchmark slipped, while Shanghai shares rose.
Falling oil prices are one positive factor for the region. In Japan, recent economic data have shown a recovery, but high rates of COVID-19 are fueling fears people will hold back on travel and other economic activity.
Some analysts say stock prices haven't properly reflected real risks.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what the news is, there is just a huge appetite to buy stocks. And to keep buying,” said Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities. “Talk of the bottom having already been priced in seems somewhat premature. Should the market turn down again after all this long positioning, it will fall with a thunderous impact. Buyers beware.”
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed to finish at 28,868.91. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3% to 2,534.27. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,105.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng reversed course and was down 1.5% at 19,739.08, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.2% to 3,281.28.
Stocks on Wall Street bounced back and closed higher, extending the market's recent winning ways as investors look ahead to several updates from retailers this week.
The S&P 500 rose 16.99 points, or 0.4%, to 4,297.14. The Dow added 151.39 points, or 0.5%, to 33,912.44. The Nasdaq gained 80.87 points, or 0.6%, to 13,128.05. The Russell 2000 rose 4.73 points, or 0.2%, to 2,021.35.
The market got off to a bumpy start as traders reacted to news overnight that China’s central bank cut a key interest rate, acknowledging more needed to be done to shore up its economy. The move is the latest warning for markets already on edge over record-high inflation and fears about recessions in the U.S. and elsewhere.
China is the world’s second-largest consumer of crude oil, so the news weighed on energy prices. U.S. crude oil prices slumped 2.9% on worries about the global economy and weighed heavily on energy stocks.
In Tuesday's trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 88 cents to $88.53 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost $1.18 to $93.92.
Treasury yields fell as a report showed manufacturing in New York state unexpectedly contracted. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which banks use to set mortgage rates, fell to 2.79% from 2.83% late Friday.
Still, all but two of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 closed higher. Technology stocks, retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending accounted for a big share of the gains.
Moderna rose 3.3% after British regulators authorized an updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The market’s choppy start to the week follows four straight weeks of gains for the benchmark S&P 500 on hopes that inflation is peaking and that the Federal Reserve could ease up on its aggressive interest rate hikes. The central bank has been raising short-term interest rates to help slow economic growth and cool the hottest inflation in 40 years.
Wall Street is worried that the Fed could hit the brakes too hard and send the economy into a recession. Any signal that inflation could be peaking or retreating has helped ease some of those worries.
Investors are also keeping a close watch on how inflation is affecting businesses and consumers. Spending has slowed and the broader economy has already contracted for two straight quarters. Several big retailers will give investors more detail on how their businesses are holding up when they report earnings this week.
Home Depot and Walmart report their results on Tuesday and Target's results are due on Wednesday. The Commerce Department also releases its July retail sales report on Wednesday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect modest 0.2% growth from June, when sales rose 1%.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 133.42 Japanese yen from 133.27 yen. The euro cost $1.0166, little changed from $1.0165.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama