Asian shares mixed after strong earnings, data lift Wall St

Business

A currency trader walks by a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a bank’s foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 3, 2021. Shares were mostly lower in Asia in thin trading Monday, with many markets including those in Tokyo and Shanghai closed for holidays. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Asian shares were mixed after strong corporate earnings and economic data lifted stocks on Wall Street.

Hong Kong and Sydney advanced while Seoul declined. Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for holidays.

On Monday, a strong dose of positive earnings reports and economic data that showed the U.S. economy is growing pushed the S&P 500 up 0.3%. U.S. futures were lower on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4% to 28,475.47 and the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,048.70. In Seoul, the Kospi lost 0.4% to 3,116.61. Shares rose in Jakarta but fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

On Monday, shares of clothing retailer Gap Inc. and flooring manufacturer Mohawk Industries both gained more than 7%. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at 60.7, well above the 50-point mark that indicates manufacturing activity is expanding.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economic outlook has “clearly brightened” in the United States, but the recovery remains too uneven.

Health care and energy companies helped push stocks higher Monday, with the S&P 500 closing at 4,192.66.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7% to 34,113.23. The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed an early gain, falling 0.5% to 13,895.12.

Smaller companies, had a good showing. The Russell 2000 index picked up 0.5% to 2,277.45.

Stocks have been grinding higher on expectations of an economic recovery and strong company profits this year as large-scale coronavirus vaccination programs help people return to jobs and normal behaviors after more than a year of restrictions. Massive support from the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, and increasingly positive economic data, have also helped put investors in a buying mood, keeping stock indexes near their all-time highs.

More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their results so far this earnings season, which show profit growth of 54% so far, according to FactSet.

This will be another busy week for earnings reports, with Merck, Pepsi, Colgate-Palmolive and CVS among the companies reporting their latest quarterly results. Investors will also get April’s jobs report on Friday.

On the economic front, a report on U.S. manufacturing activity in April came in below economists’ expectations, but still was strong for the month. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at 60.7 for April, compared with the 65.0 reading that was expected. However that figure is still well above the 50-point mark that indicates expanding manufacturing activity.

A report on U.S. construction spending showed similar results, making gains but still falling short of economists’ forecasts. Spending on construction projects rose just 0.2% in March, the Commerce Department said Monday, significantly less than the 1.7% jump economists had expected.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note slipped to 1.60% from 1.65% late Friday.

U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 5 cents to $64.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 91 cents on Monday to $64.49 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 5 cents to $67.61 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 109.23 Japanese yen from 109.09 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.2046 from $1.2066.

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AP Business writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

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