By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer
Asian shares logged moderate gains on Thursday after Wall Street stabilized following a sell-off in tech stocks the day before.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1% to 26,642.88 after the Bank of Japan wrapped up a policy meeting with no major changes, maintaining its near-zero interest rate stance despite a sharp weakening of the yen against the dollar and rising costs for many imported commodities.
The dollar rose to 129.70 Japanese yen after the BOJ policy announcement, which indicated the central bank remains determined to keep lending conditions ultra-lax to help support the sluggish economy. It was trading at 128.43 yen late Wednesday.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates to counter surging inflation and investors have been selling yen to seek higher returns in dollar-denominated assets.
Chinese benchmarks recovered from sharp drops as officials highlighted efforts to counter the impact of pandemic shutdowns in many cities.
The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.6% to 2,975.28 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.4% to 20,218.39.
Strict lockdown measures in China have added to concerns about slowing growth because of damage to the world’s second-largest economy. The flow of industrial goods has been disrupted by the suspension of access to Shanghai, home of the world’s busiest port, and other industrial cities including Changchun and Jilin in northeast China.
Beijing has been conducting mass testing this week as it decides on what degree of controls to impose in the capital.
Elsewhere, the Kospi in Seoul added 0.5% to 2,953.09. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 1% to 7,333.50.
Wall Street ended Wednesday with a lackluster finish as traders braced for more earnings reports from major U.S. companies this week.
The S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and wound up with a gain of just 0.2%, at 4,183.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.2%, to 33,301.93. The Nasdaq was barely changed at 12,488.93, while the Russell 2000 fell 0.3% to 1,884.04.
The indexes rallied to a strong finish late Monday only to slump on Tuesday. They are all down 1.5% or more so far this week.
Software giant Microsoft rose 4.8% after reporting strong profits for its most recent quarter. Payments processing giant Visa jumped 6.5% after reporting a surge in profits fueled by a large jump in spending on the company’s namesake credit and debit card network.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell 3.7%, after posting its slowest quarterly revenue growth since 2020. Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, jumped 14.6% in after-hours trading following its latest quarterly earnings, which topped Wall Street’s estimates.
Investors were also focused on earnings from industrial companies and various retailers. Boeing slumped 7.5% after it reported a loss that was far worse than Wall Street expected. Chipotle rose 2.6% after reporting solid financial results.
Twitter, Apple and Amazon will report their results on Thursday.
The latest round of company earnings comes amid lingering concerns about rising inflation and plans from central banks to raise interest rates in order to temper the impact of higher costs on businesses and consumers. Investors are studying how companies have fared amid supply chain problems and higher costs and how consumers are dealing with higher prices for everything from food to clothing and gas.
Natural gas prices surged as much as 24% over the last day in Europe and the euro weakened after Russia said it would cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. Natural gas and oil prices already were rising as the pandemic eased and demand increased, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has added to price increases. Crude oil and and natural gas prices have jumped in 2022, pushing up costs for gasoline and heating.
Oil prices fell back Thursday. U.S. benchmark crude oil lost $1.27 to $100.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 32 cents on Wednesday to $102.02 per barrel.
Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oil, shed $1.41 to $103.54 per barrel.
The euro slipped to $1.0540 from $1.0560.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.
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