Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher on bet that the Fed will slow its interest rate hikes

October 26, 2022, 8:45 AM UTC
A currency trader walks near a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 26, 2022.
Lee Jin-man—AP

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday as hopes rose that the Federal Reserve might ease off plans for interest rate hikes and Britain installed its third prime minister this year.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney gained. Oil prices declined.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained after bond prices rose, suggesting some investors expect the Fed to ease off rate hikes as economic activity cools.

Traders see weaker U.S. housing prices and other data as support for a “dial back” of Fed plans at its December meeting, said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

The new British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, warned Tuesday of a “profound economic crisis,” but his arrival appeared to reassure markets that were rattled by his predecessor’s economic plans. The battered pound edged higher against the U.S. dollar.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 3,001.44 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.9% to 15,300.40.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.8% to 27,466.82 ahead of the expected release of a stimulus package this week that reportedly could exceed 20 trillion yen ($140 billion).

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.6% to 2,248.73. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.2% to 6,810.90 after the government reported Australian inflation rose to 7.3% in the three months ending in September.

New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 1.6% 3,859.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% to 31,836.74. The Nasdaq advanced 2.3% to 11,199.12.

Tech stocks, retailers and communication companies were among the biggest drivers.

Investors are looking at corporate results to see how inflation that is at multidecade highs is affecting consumer spending.

General Motors rose 3.6% after delivering solid results. United Parcel Service slipped 0.3% after the package delivery service beat earnings and revenue forecasts.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 4.09% from 4.23% late Monday. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tracks Federal Reserve action, fell to 4.45% from 4.50% late Monday.

The Fed and other central banks have been raising interest rates to slow economic growth and reduce pressure for prices to rise. Investors worry that might tip the global economy into recession.

Traders have become more confident the Fed will reduce its rate hike plans from three-quarters to half a percentage point at its December meeting, according to CME Group.

The U.S. economy is already slowing down and actually contracted during the first half the year. The government will release its third-quarter gross domestic product report on Thursday.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 63 cents to $84.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 74 cents to $85.32 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 85 cents to $90.89 per barrel in London. It gained 26 cents the previous session to $93.52.

The dollar slipped to 147.58 yen from Tuesday’s 147.97 yen. The euro advanced to 99.70 cents from 99.66 cents.

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