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Asian Stocks Up but Cautious Thanks to U.S. Economic Data, Earnings

Stock MarketsJul 23, 2021 12:08
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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Friday morning but ended the week on a cautious note as investors digested the latest U.S. economic data and earnings.

South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.22% by 9:56 PM ET (1:56 AM GMT) and in Australia, the ASX 200 inched up 0.04%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index Index fell 0.65%

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.34% while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.33%. Didi Global Inc. (NYSE:DIDI) came under scrutiny as regulators mull serious, even unprecedented penalties to punish the ridesharing company after its controversial U.S. IPO in June 2021.

Japanese markets were shut for a holiday, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games’ opening ceremony later in the day. However, in an unprecedented move, the event will take place without spectators due to the state of emergency declared in the country.

U.S. shares edged toward an all-time high, with S&P 500 recording its biggest three-day advance since April 2021 and the Nasdaq 100 closing at a record.

Longer-term U.S. Treasuries broke a two-day fall, with strong demand for an auction of 10-year inflation-protected securities producing a record-low yield.

Investors also digested the latest corporate earnings, where technology firms such as Microsoft Corp . (NASDAQ:MSFT) rallied while cyclicals lagged. Twitter Inc . (NYSE:TWTR) shares jumped on an upbeat outlook, but Intel Corp .'s stock (NASDAQ:INTC) fell thanks to a lower-than-expected sales forecast.

Global shares are set to end the week with a modest gain, with investors regaining their risk appetites thanks to generally strong corporate earnings and reassurance that central banks will keep their dovish stance on monetary policy.

However, the decline in benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields in July could be a signal that economic growth is peaking, as the number of COVID-19 cases involving the Delta variant continues its upward trend and force more countries to impose restrictive measures.

The U.S. is “at another pivotal moment in this pandemic,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said, as the number of daily cases involving the variant continues to rise in unvaccinated pockets of the population.

“One of the most under-appreciated things about the equity markets right now is just how much these earnings have risen, and how much analysts have had to revise their earnings estimates up,” Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Investment Institute head of global asset allocation strategy Tracie McMillion told Bloomberg. She added that she is tracking the Delta variant in case it affects consumer behavior and the shift in the recovery from “great to really good.”

Investors also digested the latest economic data, with a higher-than-expected 419,000 initial jobless claims filed throughout the past week. The number was at a two-month high, with 368,000 claims filed during the previous week and 350,000 claims forecast by Investing.com.

The data also said existing home sales also rose to 5.86 million in June, for the first time in five months. The U.S. manufacturing and services purchasing managers indexes for July are also due later in the day.

Asian Stocks Up but Cautious Thanks to U.S. Economic Data, Earnings
 

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