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Stock market today: Japanese benchmark briefly hits all-time high after Wall Street rally

Stock market today: Japanese benchmark briefly hits all-time high after Wall Street rally

 


BANGKOK (AP) Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index briefly hit an all-time high Thursday, surpassing its previous record set in December 1989.

As of midday on Thursday, the index was up 1.6% at 38,861.98 after hitting a high of 38,924.88. The Nikkei 225's previous high was 38,915.87, just before Japan's bubble economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

Japanese stocks have seen strong gains in recent months, helped by strong interest from foreign investors who account for the majority of trading volume on the Tokyo stock exchange.

The weakness of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has also attracted investment, despite prolonged weakness in the economy, which fell back into a technical recession late last year.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares were mixed.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3% to 16,452.34 and the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1% to 2,952.76.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1% to 7,598.00, while Seoul's Kospi added 0.2% to 2,659.21.

Stocks ended higher on Wall Street on Wednesday after a day of listless trading, with big tech stocks once again acting as a heavyweight in the market.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,981.80. The benchmark index spent much of the day in losing territory before rallying just before markets closed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also posted a slight gain after losing ground for most of the day. It rose 0.1% to 38,612.24.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.3% to 15,580.87.

Profits remained the main concern. After the markets closed, Nvidia announced profits and revenues well above Wall Street forecasts. The chipmaker has tripled in size over the past year thanks to renewed investor enthusiasm for artificial intelligence.

Palo Alto Networks was a big loser and a particularly heavyweight in the technology sector. The network security company fell 28.4% after giving future billing forecasts well below those sought by analysts. Its rival Fortinet fell 3.8%.

Amazon rose 0.9% following the announcement of its listing on the Dow Jones. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which leaves the Dow, fell 2.5%

Bond yields have gained ground. The 10-year Treasury yield rose from 4.28% to 4.33% Tuesday evening.

Technology stocks were behind much of the market's rally, which took it to record highs last week. The sector also has some of the strongest profit growth. Lopsided contributions from some of the industry's biggest companies, however, raised questions about whether the gains were exaggerated.

Several other companies took significant action after releasing their financial results. Electronic measurement technology company Keysight Technologies fell 6.7% after its profit forecast came in below analysts' expectations. Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, jumped 8.8% after beating profit forecasts.

Toll Brothers rose 3.9% after giving investors an encouraging financial update as it sees strong demand. This helped support gains across the homebuilding sector.

Energy companies gained ground as natural gas prices jumped 12.5%. Exxon Mobil rose 2%.

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its most recent meeting in January, showing most officials are wary of moving too quickly to cut their benchmark interest rates. The central bank left the rate unchanged for the fourth consecutive time at this meeting. Investors have all but given up hope that the central bank will cut rates at its March meeting and are hoping the first rate cut will come in June.

Investors should wait until next week for another key inflation update. That's when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and spending, the federal government's preferred measure of inflation.

Separate measures of consumer and wholesale prices in January show that inflation has not calmed as much as expected. This prompted investors to shift their rate cut expectations from March to June. A weak retail sales report added to disappointing inflation data and raised concerns that stubborn inflation is inflicting even more pain on consumers.

In other trading Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 8 cents to $77.99 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 6 cents to $83.09 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 150.32 Japanese yen, down from 150.04 yen. The euro was at $1.0827, almost unchanged.

___

AP Business Editor Damian J. Troise contributed.

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