By Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in choppy trading Thursday, as inflation worries and the war in Ukraine had investors partly optimistic while staying cautious.
Benchmarks rose in Japan, South Korea and Australia, boosted by the overnight rally in Europe and in the Dow in the U.S. Investors were also watching South Korean trade numbers for April, which showed a trade deficit, although both imports and exports rose.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was speaking at a forum where Asian leaders talk about policy. Investors are watching to see if Xi will give any hint on changes to China’s COVID policies, according to Iris Pang, chief economist at ING.
What central banks may indicate on interest rates and inflation was also of concern, analysts said.
“Market focus will remain on inflation and the Ukraine-Russia situation ” ahead of the Wednesday night IMF panel discussion with U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, said Lavanya Venkateswaran of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.23% jumped 1.3% in morning trading to 27,559.57. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.77% added 0.3% to 7,589.60. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +2.26% surged 0.6% to 2,735.37. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.09% slipped 1.8% to 20,559, while the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.89% fell 1.7% to 3,096.
Wall Street’s major stock indexes ended mixed on a day dominated by the drop in Netflix shares /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +5.03% , which lost more than a third of their value after reporting its first subscriber loss in more than a decade and predicting more grim times ahead.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +3.06% slipped 0.1% after a late-afternoon fade, while the Nasdaq fell 1.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.68% rose 0.7%, having received a bump from IBM /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM +2.61% , which added 7.1% after reporting quarterly results that beat analysts’ estimates.
Netflix slumped 35.1% a day after the streaming giant reported its first decline in subscribers in more than a decade. The company also said it expects a steeper decline during the current quarter. Netflix is now considering changes that it has long resisted, including minimizing password sharing and creating a low-cost subscription option supported by advertising. The stock is now down 67% from the all-time high it reached in November.
The skid in Netflix, one of Wall Street’s Big Tech high-flyers in recent years, weighed heavily on the S&P 500, outweighing gains elsewhere in the benchmark index, and hit the communication services sector the hardest, pulling it 4.1% lower.
“While it is in communication services, it is also a discretionary stock, clearly, in that it’s one of those things people buy because they want, not because they have to,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.
Technology stocks, retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending also weighed on the market. Chipmaker Nvidia /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA +5.55% fell 3.2% and Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +3.58% dropped 2.6%.
Health care stocks made some of the biggest gains. CVS /zigman2/quotes/209664499/composite CVS +2.33% rose 2.7% and medical device maker Boston Scientific /zigman2/quotes/203726728/composite BSX +2.92% added 3%.
Banks and household product makers also bucked the market’s overall decline. JPMorgan Chase /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM +2.98% rose 0.4%, while Charmin- and Dawn-maker Procter & Gamble /zigman2/quotes/202894679/composite PG +1.44% rose 2.7% after beating analysts’ quarterly earnings forecasts.
Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +4.52% rose 4% in after-hours trading after reporting first-quarter net earnings that were over seven times greater than a year earlier. The electric vehicle and solar panel company benefited from strong sales despite global supply chain kinks and pandemic-related production cuts in China.