Investors are wavering between optimism about a global recovery and unease that it might be delayed by the spread of the virus’s more contagious delta variant. They also worry central bankers might feel pressure to tame rising inflation by rolling back easy credit. “The Delta variant remains an ever-present downside risk for the markets in the near-term,” said Craig Erlam of Oanda in a report, “but as long as inflation remains only a temporary problem, it also keeps central bank hawks at bay.”
Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Overnight, Wall Street’s S&P 500 index rose 0.8%, putting it on pace for a weekly gain after rebounding from Monday’s 1.6% loss. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2% to 3,569.95 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong surged 1.7% to 27,683.23.
The Kospi in Seoul added 1% to 3,247.42 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney rose 0.9% to 7,377.60. India’s Sensex opened 1.2% higher at 52,803.19. New Zealand retreated while Singapore and Jakarta gained.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose Wednesday to 4,358.69. Technology stocks, banks and companies that rely on consumer spending helped drive the benchmark index’s advance. Energy stocks also rose as the price of U.S. crude oil marched 4.3% higher. Utilities and real estate stocks were among the decliners. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8% to 34,798 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.9% to 14,631.95.
U.S. stocks, boosted by unexpectedly strong corporate profit reports, have gained in choppy trading despite coronavirus uncertainties.
Coca-Cola Co. and fast food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill rose after reporting better quarterly results than expected. Netflix fell 3.3% after reporting its worst slowdown in subscriber growth in eight years. More than 80% of companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results so far have beat analysts’ forecasts, according to FactSet. More than 100 are due to announce next week.
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