Saturday May 18th, 2024 1:05PM

Stock market today: Global shares track Wall Street rally, led by a 2.4% jump in Tokyo

By The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) — World shares advanced Wednesday, led by a 2.4% rally for Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index that was powered by strong gains for semiconductor makers.

European markets opened higher. Germany’s DAX was up 0.4% to 18,200.49 and the CAC 40 in Paris edged less than 0.1% higher to 8,109.21. In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 8,078.50.

The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.2% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was virtually unchanged.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained more than 900 points to close at 38,460.08.

Shares in computer chip company Renesas Electronics Corp. jumped 10.5%, while rival Tokyo Electronic surged 7.1%.

Investors are watching to see how Japan's central bank and its Finance Ministry react to prolonged weakness in the yen, which has been trading at its lowest level in 34 years, at a policy meeting that begins Thursday.

The U.S. dollar rose to 154.93 Japanese yen on Wednesday from 154.82 yen late Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0690 from $1.0699.

“Market participants will be closely monitoring updates for any indications of how the Bank of Japan might address foreign exchange pressures during this week’s policy meeting,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary.

Shares in Greater China also rallied.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 2.1% to 17,176.31, while the Hang Seng Tech Index gained 3.4%. Chinese artificial intelligence company Sensetime Group’s shares surged 31.2% after it released the latest version of its SenseNova generative AI model on Tuesday.

The Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.8% to 3,044.82.

Taiwan’s Taiex gained 2.7%.

In South Korea, the Kospi added 2% to 2,675.75, led by a 4% gain in heavyweight Samsung Electronics.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was unchanged at 7,683.00 following the release of a fifth consecutive quarter of decelerating inflation, with the consumer price index in the first quarter easing to 3.6% from previous 4.1%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 1.2% to 5,070.55, pulling further out of the hole created by a six-day losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% to 38,503.69, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.6% to 15,696.64.

A weaker-than-expected report on U.S. business activity helped support the market, which remains in an awkward phase. The hope on Wall Street is for the economy to avoid a severe recession, but not to stay so hot that it keeps upward pressure on inflation.

A preliminary report from S&P Global released Tuesday seemed to hit that sweet spot. Treasury yields eased in the bond market, and stocks added to gains immediately after its release.

Top officials at the Federal Reserve warned last week they may need to keep interest rates high for a while in order to ensure inflation is heading down to their 2% target. That was a big letdown for financial markets, dousing hopes that had built after the Fed signaled earlier that three interest-rate cuts may come this year.

Lower rates had appeared to be on the horizon after inflation cooled sharply last year. But a string of reports this year showing inflation has remained hotter than expected has raised worries about stalled progress.

In oil trading, U.S. benchmark crude added 11 cents to $83.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 18 cents to $87.57 per barrel.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Financial Markets
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