Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed after Wall St pulls back after a shaky day

FILE - People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. Wall Street's best week of the year is getting even better Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, following a cooler-than-expected report on the job market. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

FILE – People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. Wall Street’s best week of the year is getting even better Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, following a cooler-than-expected report on the job market. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday after Wall Street pulled back from its record following a shaky day of trading, putting at least a temporary halt to its huge rally since Halloween.

Hong Kong gained 2.3% to 16,912.24. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.3% to 3,069.09.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was unchanged at 39,796.65. Revised figures released on Monday showed that Japan’s economy expanded by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2023, compared to the provisional data of a 0.4% contraction in the previous month.

Favorable economic data may potentially serve as a positive signal for Japan to consider ending its negative interest rate policy.

“The prevailing sentiment is leaning towards the notion that when the Bank of Japan eventually departs from its negative rate policy, it is anticipated to convey an air of confidence that deflation is in the rearview window,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management. “ And this interest rate hike will not be an isolated occurrence, potentially bolstering the Japanese Yen further.”

In February, China’s consumer price index rebounded by 0.7% compared to the same period last year, driven by a surge in consumption during the holiday season, while the producer price index experienced a 2.7% year-on-year decline, suggesting persistent deflationary pressures.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1% higher to 2,749.36 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gave up 0.1% to 7,887.90.

On Monday, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% from its all-time high set a day before. It initially climbed after mixed data on the U.S. job market bolstered hopes that easier interest rates will arrive later this year. Later, it swung to a loss after one of its most influential stocks, Nvidia, took a rare stumble following a jaw-dropping surge that critics called overdone.

Friday’s dip also sent the S&P 500 to a rare losing week, just its third in the last 19.

The weakness for Nvidia and other technology stocks dragged the Nasdaq composite to a market-leading loss of 1.2%, ended at 16,085.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has less of an emphasis on tech, held up better. It slipped 0.2% to 38.722.69.

In the bond market, Treasury yields eased following the mixed data on the U.S. job market, which economists described as “all over the place.” The jobs report showed employers hired more workers last month than expected, but wages for workers rose by less than forecast. It also said job growth in January was not nearly as hot as earlier thought.

The job market and overall economy are in a delicate spot, where Wall Street wants them to continue growing, but not so much that they raise pressure on inflation.

The ultimate goal is for inflation to cool enough to convince the Federal Reserve to lower its main interest rate from its highest level since 2001. Such a move would release pressure on the financial system and the economy, which has so far remained out of a recession despite high interest rates.

In the meantime, the hope on Wall Street is that the remarkably resilient economy will drive growth in profits for companies.

Gap climbed 8.2% after the retailer reported stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The retailer said an important sales trend returned to growth at both its Old Navy and Gap stores. The owner of Banana Republic and Athleta also gave a forecast for upcoming sales this year that was a touch higher than analysts’ estimates.

Gun maker Smith & Wesson Brands leaped 29.4% after likewise reporting stronger profit than expected for the latest quarter. It said its shipments grew faster than the overall firearms market.

But Nvidia was the main stock in the spotlight as it tumbled 5.5% for its worst day since May. It’s a rare blip for the stock that has shot up nearly 77% this year after more than tripling last year.

In other trading U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 39 cents to $84.10 per barrel. Brent crude oil also was up 39 cents, at $87.81 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 151.72 Japanese yen from 151.68 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0730 from $1.0745.

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