Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher on upbeat data
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock prices followed Wall Street higher Tuesday on encouraging global economic data.
Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul all advanced. Oil prices advanced again, adding to Monday’s big gains.
Investors were encouraged by manufacturing indicators that showed activity in China and the United States improving. A separate report showed U.S. construction spending increased in February.
In another hopeful sign, long-term bond yields rose above their recent lows, following a sharp drop last month that flashed a possible recession warning, rattling Wall Street.
The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.3% to 3,180.51 points while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 21,507.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.1% higher at 29,590.65 and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.4% to 2,176.45.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4% to 6,242.70 and India’s Sensex was unchanged at 38,872.51. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also rose.
“It does appear that the cylinders are firing up once again, or at least in China and the U.S., sustaining risk-on mood for Asia markets,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.
Unexpectedly strong U.S. and Chinese factory data “affirmed the improving manufacturing picture,” said Pan.
On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose Monday for a third day, advancing 1.2% to 2,867.19.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.3% to 26,258.42. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.3% to 7,828.91.
Financial and technology companies powered the latest rally. Investors tend to favor those sectors when they’re confident the economy will continue growing. Bank of America gained 3.4% and Intel rose 1.5%.
Consumer product makers and utility companies, which are considered safe-play investments, lagged the market. Clorox fell 1.2% and NRG Energy slid 1.7%.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose sharply to 2.47% from 2.41% on Friday. It also rose back above the yield on the three-month Treasury bill.
That reverses an inversion in yields that alarmed investors last month. Such a change has preceded recessions in the past.
AUSTRALIAN RATES: Australia’s central bank left rates unchanged but adopted new language in a statement about its latest meeting, suggesting the bank might be shifting toward a bias in favor of easing policy. The Reserve Bank of Australia said it would “monitor developments” and set policy “to support sustainable growth.” That provides “flexibility to cut” in response to upcoming employment data, Chris Weston of Pepperstone said in a report.
BREXIT: Legislators rejected four proposed alternatives to Britain’s separation from the European Union that would have softened or halted the departure. With 12 days until the U.K. must come up with a new plan or crash out of the trade bloc in chaos, the House of Commons threw out options designed to replace Prime Minister Theresa May’s thrice-rejected deal. The result leaves May with difficult choices including calling a possible snap election to shake up Parliament.
KEEBLER SALE: Kellogg Co. agreed to sell brands including Keebler and Famous Amos cookies to Italian confectioner Ferrero SpA, best known for making Nutella. The price of $1.3 billion is about $2.6 billion less than Kellogg paid for Keebler 17 years ago. The value of household names like Keebler has deteriorated as families turn to food and snack alternatives that are thought to be healthier. The sale includes Kellogg’s fruit-flavored snack, pie crust and ice cream cone businesses.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 18 cents to $61.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.45 on Monday to close at $61.59. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 13 cents to $69.14 per barrel in London. It jumped $1.43 to $69.01 the previous session.
CURRENCY: The dollar was unchanged at 111.35 yen. The euro declined to $1.1208 from $1.1213.