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Asian stocks mixed after lacklustre session on Wall Street

Asian stocks were mixed after a disappointing session on Wall Street
Asian stocks were mixed after a disappointing session on Wall Street - Copyright AFP/File -
Asian stocks were mixed after a disappointing session on Wall Street - Copyright AFP/File -

Asian shares were mixed in early trade on Thursday, following a session on Wall Street that saw major indices sink despite a surge in tech.

Blockbuster earnings results lifted the tech-heavy Nasdaq on Wednesday, but recession fears and concerns over the health of the banking sector dragged down the Dow and the S&P.

Shares in Microsoft jumped 7.2 percent on the back of better-than-expected earnings, while Meta surged nearly 12 percent in after-hours trades following the announcement of first-quarter profits of $5.7 billion.

The situation was reversed for Korean tech giant Samsung, which reported on Thursday its worst quarterly profits in 14 years, blaming slowing consumer spending on electronics and falling microchip prices.

The company’s first-quarter net income fell 86.1 percent to $1.17 billion, and sales dropped 18 percent, though its stock was trading only slightly down.

In Hong Kong, excitement over the IPO of Chinese baijiu maker ZJLD — the largest debut on the bourse so far this year — fizzled as its share prices tumbled around 15 percent in morning trade.

Even so, its roughly $570 million in proceeds amounted to more than half of what the Hong Kong stock exchange generated from IPOs in the first quarter of 2023. 

Tokyo, Sydney, Wellington and Singapore were all down on Thursday, while Shanghai, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila were up. Hong Kong and Seoul were more or less flat.

Investors kept an eye on the embattled First Republic Bank, which ended nearly 30 percent down after another bruising session.

“First Republic’s drastic move to the downside dragged down the KBW Regional Banking Index, which fell to its lowest level since November 2020 and prompted lending fears more broadly,” SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes said in a note.

Those worries, coupled with lacklustre consumer confidence data among other indicators, have deepened fears of a broader recession.

“Realization is dawning that more ominous clouds are gathering over the US economy, causing fresh nervousness for investors,” noted Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Key figures on US unemployment, GDP and inflation due this week are expected to shed more light on the state of the economy.

Oil prices, meanwhile, fell on worries that an economic slowdown would pinch demand, even as weekly US data pointed to strong gasoline demand.

The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was trading at $74.50 a barrel on Thursday morning.

“The economy is weakening but it isn’t falling off a cliff, so we shouldn’t be seeing oil trade near the low $70s,” said Oanda’s Edward Moya.

“China’s recovery is not materializing, and US demand is weaker, so $100 oil won’t be happening.”

– Key figures around 0300 GMT –

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: FLAT at 19,759.98

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3276.60

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 28,349.95

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 33,301.87 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,852.64 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1053 from $1.1044 on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2473 from $1.2409

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 133.57 yen from 133.67 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 88.60 pence from 88.55 pence

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.31 percent at $77.94 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.17 percent at $74.42 per barrel

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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