Asian shares press higher after Wall St record

Beijing, Asian stock markets were mostly higher Friday after Wall Street hit a record and Japanese inflation eased, said AP.

Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Hong Kong declined. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index advanced 0.3%, putting it on track for a weekly gain.

Investors are shifting focus from corporate earnings to the longer-term outlook for global economies and whether central banks might feel pressure to cool rising prices by rolling back stimulus faster than planned.

Inflation is “currently the main focal area for the markets,” Fawad Razaqzada of ThinkMarkets said in a report.

Also Thursday, the Labor Department said that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for a seventh week to a pandemic low of 268,000.

U.S. stocks have risen early October as companies report stronger profits than expected. Companies in the S&P 500 have reported overall earnings growth of 39%. That outpaces earlier forecasts in June for 23% growth for the quarter.

Companies face higher costs for raw materials and supply chain problems. Consumers have so far absorbed price hikes, but analysts fear they could eventually rein in spending if increases continue.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 65 cents to $79.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used as the price basis for international oils, gained 72 cents to $81.96 per barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 114.38 yen from Thursday’s 114.27 yen. The euro declined to $1.1356 from $1.1370.

Source: Bahrain News Agency