By ELAINE KURTENBACH -https://japantoday.com/
Shares edged higher in Asia and oil prices also advanced after a tech-driven rally on Wall Street. Trading was light with many regional markets including those in China closed for holidays.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2% to 27,787.98 and the Kospi in Seoul eked out a 0.1% gain, to 2,759.20. The S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2% to 7,527.90. India’s Sensex slipped 0.1%.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has elevated concerns about rising inflation and the impact on global economic growth. Prices for everything from food to clothing were already rising and the war has added to volatility for energy prices.
The World Bank has downgraded its 2022 growth forecast for the Asia-Pacific region to 5% from 5.4%, in part due to disruptions to supplies of commodities, financial strains and higher prices. That follows a rebound to 7.2% growth in 2021 after many economies experienced downturns with the onset of the pandemic.
The report forecasts slower growth and rising poverty in the Asia-Pacific region this year as “multiple shocks” compound troubles for people and for businesses.
Oil prices have been hovering around $100 a barrel, a hardship for many countries that depend on imports of oil and gas.
U.S. crude climbed 61 cents to $103.89 per barrel early Tuesday in electronic trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Brent crude was up 60 cents at $108.13 per barrel.
The price of U.S. benchmark crude jumped 4% on Monday and Brent crude, the standard for international pricing, rose 3%.
In New York on Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 4,582.64, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 to 34,921.88, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.9% to 14,532.55.
Smaller company stocks also gained ground. The Russell 200 index picked up 0.2%, to 2,095.44.
Twitter surged 27.1% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the company disclosed that Tesla’s Elon Musk had taken a 9.2% stake in the social media platform. In recent weeks Musk has publicly questioned the company’s commitment to free speech. The gains were a key factor in lifting the broader communications sector and keeping the S&P 500 in the green even as little less than half the companies in the index fell.
Big technology stocks did the heavy lifting Monday, offsetting losses elsewhere. Such companies have pricey stock values and tend to have more weight in pushing the market up or down. Apple rose 2.4% and Microsoft gained 1.8%.
Investors continue to monitor the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia could face even stricter economic sanctions now that details are emerging of what appear to be deliberate killings of civilians.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, joined a growing chorus of international criticism of the alleged atrocities, saying the 27-country bloc “will advance, as a matter of urgency, work on further sanctions against Russia.”
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 2.40% early Tuesday, near its Monday close of 2.41%.
Bond yields have been climbing all year as Wall Street prepares for higher interest rates. The Federal Reserve has already raised its key overnight rate once, the first such increase since 2018. The central bank is expected to continue raising rates throughout 2022 to help counter the impact from rising inflation.
The Fed is due to release minutes from its last meeting on Wednesday.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 122.91 Japanese yen from 122.79 yen. The euro climbed $1.0985 from $1.0976.