Asian shares rise after eased pressure on bonds pushes Wall Street higher

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares advanced Wednesday in Asia, tracking Wall Street gains following an easing of pressure from the bond market.

U.S. futures slipped and oil prices rose slightly.

In Hong Kong, investor sentiment got a boost from a report by Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, that the government is considering boosting spending on construction to support the economy.

China’s lackluster recovery from the blows to its economy during the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on regional and global growth.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.4% to 17,919.56 and the Shanghai Composite index was edged less than 0.1% lower, to 3,073.50.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.6% to 31,936.51.

In South Korea, the Kospi jumped 2%, to 2,449.55 after Samsung Electronics reported improved quarterly earnings. Samsung’s shares surged 3%, while SK Hynix’s were up 0.9%. Analysts say the worst of the post-pandemic contraction in demand for computer chips and electronic devices may be over.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.7% to 7,088.40. In India, the Sensex added 0.6% and in Bangkok the SET was up 1.4%.

Investors have taken heart amid signs that upward pressure on inflation in many economies may be easing, which would enable the Federal Reserve and other central banks to halt or reverse aggressive interest rate hikes meant to curb rising prices.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.5% to 4,358.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 33,739.30, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 0.6% to 13,562.84.

PepsiCo rose 1.9% after it reported stronger profit and revenue for its latest quarter than analysts expected.

Some of the strongest action was in the bond market, where Treasury yields eased after trading resumed following a holiday on Monday. It was the first opportunity for yields to move since the weekend’s surprise attack by Hamas on Israel injected caution into global markets.

Perhaps more impactfully, it was also the first trading for Treasurys since speeches by Federal Reserve officials that traders took as a suggestion the Fed may not raise its main interest rate again. The comments helped U.S. stocks swing from early losses to gains on Monday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury has fallen to 4.64% from 4.80% late Friday, which is a considerable move for the bond market. The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed’s actions, sank to 4.97% from 5.09%.

Treasury yields had jumped last week to their highest levels in more than a decade, following the lead of the Fed’s main interest rate, which is at heights unseen since 2001. They’ve been the main reason for the stock market’s stumbles since the summer, as worries rise that the Fed will keep its federal funds rate at a high level for longer than Wall Street hopes.

High rates and longer-term yields knock down prices for stocks and other investments, while slowing the economy in hopes of undercutting high inflation.

But the swift rise in the 10-year Treasury yield has helped pull the average long-term mortgage rate up to its highest level since 2000, and Fed officials have intimated such moves may help contain high inflation on their own.

The Fed’s next announcement on interest rates is due Nov. 1. Traders are now betting on a nearly 73% chance that the year will end without any more Fed rate hikes, according to data from CME Group. That’s up from the 53% chance seen a week ago.

In other trading, a barrel of U.S. crude picked up 12 cents to $86.09 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 41 cents to settle at $85.97 on Tuesday, giving back a bit of its $3.59 leap a day earlier due to the fighting in the Middle East.

Brent crude, the international standard, was up 12 cents at $87.77 per barrel. It fell 50 cents to $87.50 per barrel on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar rose to 148.92 Japanese yen from 148.72 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0606 from $1.0608.

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