Asian markets follow Wall St up but on track for annual loss

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Friday following encouraging U.S. employment data but were headed for double-digit losses for the year.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices edged higher.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained Thursday after the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week despite repeated interest rate hikes to cool inflation by slowing economic activity.

“Considering the market news...

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BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Friday following encouraging U.S. employment data but were headed for double-digit losses for the year.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices edged higher.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained Thursday after the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week despite repeated interest rate hikes to cool inflation by slowing economic activity.

“Considering the market news was sparse, the shift higher has the hallmarks of a dead cat bounce,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,085.96. The Chinese benchmark is on track to end 2022 down more than 14% after the world’s second-largest economy was depressed by anti-virus controls and a crackdown on corporate debt.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.3% to 26,168.45. It is headed for an annual loss of almost 10%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4% to 19,803.77. It is off more than 14% this year.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.5% higher at 7,057.40. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.

South Korean markets were closed for a holiday. The country’s benchmark Kospi index is headed for a loss of more than 25% for the year.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.7% to 3,849.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1% to 33,220.80. The Nasdaq composite added 2.6% to 10,478.09.

Each major U.S. index is headed for a loss in December. Companies in the S&P 500 took in record profits in 2022 but the index will end the year down about 20%, which would be the benchmark’s biggest annual decline since 2008.

Investors are uneasy about a string of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to tame inflation that is at multi-decade highs. They worry central banks are willing to cause a recession if necessary.

The Fed’s key lending rate stands at a range of 4.25% to 4.5% after seven increases this year. The U.S. central bank forecasts that will reach a range of 5% to 5.25% by the end of 2023. Its forecast doesn’t call for a rate cut before 2024.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $78.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 56 cents on Thursday to $78.40. Brent crude, used as the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 10 cents to $83.56 per barrel in London. It lost $1 the previous session to $82.26 a barrel.

The dollar declined to 132.57 yen from Thursday’s 132.90 yen. The euro edged lower to $1.0659 from $1.0677.

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