By Associated Press
TOKYO — Asian shares gained Friday as investors cheered a strong set of earnings from retailers that has sent U.S. shares higher.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) added 0.6% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) gained 0.9% and South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721) jumped 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HONG:HK:HSI) surged 2.9%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) edged up 0.5%. Stocks rose in Singapore (SES:SG:STI) , Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999) and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX) .
“Improved risk sentiments in Wall Street, along with earnings outperformance from Alibaba and Baidu, may aid to fuel some upside for the Asia region into today’s session,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
Shares of Alibaba (NYS:BABA) (HKG:HK:1060) and Baidu (NAS:BIDU) (HKG:HK:9888) have surged after they reported better than expected results, easing some concerns about the negative impact from restrictions to curb COVID-19 infections. Both shares continued to rise in early trading.
Gauging Japan’s economic path will be on investors’ minds as data on manufacturing, housing and employment for April are set to be released next week. Some analysts expect the numbers to be dim because of a slowdown in exports to China during that period.
But some optimism is also in the air, with Tokyo’s restrictions on tourists easing and the daily cap raising from 10,000 incoming people to 20,000 starting June 1. The Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is also set to push ahead in parliamentary discussions with a supplementary budget, another possible plus for investors.
Wall Street ended broadly higher after seven straight weeks of declines, the longest such stretch since 2001.
Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set interest rates on mortgages , rose to 2.75% from 2.74% late Wednesday.
Roughly 90% of the stocks in the S&P 500 rose, with technology companies, banks and retailers driving much of the rally. While trading has remained choppy this week, the market has mostly pushed higher, unlike the past five weeks, when the S&P 500 had a pullback of 2% or more at least one day each week.
“It’s nice to see a couple days in the green, and this might actually end up being the first week when we don’t have a humongous down day,” said Liz Young, head of investment strategy at SoFi. “But I wouldn’t declare premature victory and assume we’re in the clear.”
The S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) rose 79.11 points, or 2%, to 4,057.84. The Dow (DOW:DJIA) added 516.91 points, or 1.6%, to 32,637.19, and the Nasdaq (NASDAQ:COMP) rose 305.91 points, or 2.7%, to 11,740.65.
Inflation is at a four-decade high and businesses have been raising prices on everything from food to clothing to offset higher costs. The impact from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worsened inflation pressures by fueling higher energy and key food commodity costs. Supply chain problems worsened in the wake of China’s lockdown for several major cities as it tried to contain COVID-19 cases.
Consumers have been resilient about spending, but the pressure from inflation remains persistent and could be prompting a pullback or shift in spending from more expensive things to necessities.
The broad gains on Thursday followed a late push for markets on Wednesday prompted by details from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, which confirmed expectations of more interest rate hikes .
In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude added 36 cents to $114.45 a barrel. U.S. crude oil prices rose 3.4% Thursday, and are up more than 55% for the year. Brent crude , the international standard, rose 45 cents to $117.85 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar (XTUP:USDJPY) inched down to 126.79 Japanese yen from 127.10 yen.