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Stock Market Today: Asian Shares Gain Despite Wall Street’s Tech-Led Retreat

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By Elaine Kurtenbach AP Business Writer

Asian shares advanced on Thursday even after sinking technology stocks sent Wall Street lower in the S&P 500’s worse losing streak since the start of the year. online news

U.S. futures were lower, while oil prices gained.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.3% to 38,090.87 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.5% to 16,489.59.

The Shanghai Composite index added 0.6% to 3,089.93.

South Korea’s Kospi led the region’s gains, surging 1.8% to 2,631.15.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 500 rose 0.6% to 7,651.30.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 lost 0.6%, to 5,022.21. It’s down 4.4% since setting a record late last month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 37,753.31, and the Nasdaq composite sank 1.1% to 15,683.37.

Tech stocks slumped after ASML, a Dutch company that’s a major supplier to the semiconductor industry, reported weaker orders for the start of 2024 than analysts expected. Its stock trading in the United States slumped 7.1%.

Nvidia dropped 3.9%, and Broadcom sank 3.5% to serve as the two heaviest weights on the S&P 500.

The weakness for tech overshadowed stronger-than-expected profit reports from some big companies, including United Airlines. It soared 17.4% after reporting stronger results for the start of the year than analysts expected, lifted by strong demand from business fliers.

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Sharp tumbles for oil prices lessened investors’ worries about inflation, which in turn helped Treasury yields ease.

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The 10-year Treasury yield sank to 4.58% from 4.67% late Tuesday. The two-year yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed, fell to 4.92% from 4.99%.

Yields on Tuesday had returned to where they were in November after top officials at the Federal Reserve suggested the central bank may hold its main interest steady for a while. It wants to get more confidence that inflation is sustainably heading toward its target of 2%. Its main interest rate has been sitting at its highest level since 2001.

High interest rates hurt prices for investments and increase the risk of a recession, but Fed officials are concerned after a string of reports this year has shown inflation remaining hotter than forecast.

Traders are now mostly expecting just one or two cuts to interest rates from the Federal Reserve this year, according to data from CME Group. That’s down from forecasts for six or more at the start of the year.

With little near-term help expected from an easing of interest rates, companies will need to deliver fatter profits to justify their big runs in stock price since autumn.

Travelers slumped 7.4% after the insurer’s quarterly results fell short of forecasts. It had to contend with more losses from catastrophes.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services fell 8.1% after reporting weaker revenue and results than expected. It was hurt in part by competition in the eastern part of the country and by higher wages for workers and other costs.

On the winning side of Wall Street was Omnicom Group. It rose 1.6% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The marketing and communications company highlighted growth trends in most markets around the world, outside the Middle East and Africa.

The stock of Donald Trump’s social media company also continued to swing sharply, this time jumping 15.6%. That followed two straight losses of more than 14%. Experts say the stock is caught up in frenzied trading driven more by public sentiment around the former president than by the business prospects of the company.

In oil trading, U.S. benchmark crude picked up 19 cents to $82.88 per barrel. It had lost $2.67 on Wednesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, gained 25 cents to $87.54 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 154.19 Japanese yen from 154.38 yen. The euro rose to $1.0678 from $1.0673.

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

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