TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were trading mixed Tuesday as pessimism about global uncertainties remained even as China reported a better-than-expected economic growth data.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.5% in morning trading to 28,662.79. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3% to 7,363.40. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3% to 2,568.77. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.7% to 20,643.80, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, inching down less than 0.1% to 3,384.33. Oil prices rose.
Traders have been focused on data out of China, Asia’s chief engine for growth, and trading was muted until the release of the data. China’s growth target is 5% for this year.
China’s first-quarter gross domestic product, which measures the value of a nation’s products and services, rose a better-than-expected 4.5%, according to official statistics. Analysts had expected 4% growth, following a 2.9% growth in the last quarter of 2022. Still, some analysts remained cautious.
“This neither distracts from doubts around sustained growth recovery back above 5% nor does it adequately confirm recovery in private sector confidence critical to inspire a virtuous growth cycle,” said Tan Boon Heng at Mizuho Bank.
Analysts say new trade patterns will emerge since markets have been rocked by various political uncertainties such as the war in Ukraine, threatening supply chains and triggering fluctuations in consumer prices and moves by the world’s central banks.
Wall Street drifted higher Monday to kick off the first full week of earnings reporting season.
The S&P 500 rose 13.68, or 0.3%, to 4,151.32. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 100.71, or 0.3%, to 33,987.18, while the Nasdaq composite climbed 34.26, or 0.3%, to 12,157.72.
All three swayed between small gains and losses in quiet trading before ending near their highs for the day.
Several financial companies reported a mixed set of profit reports for the first three months of the year. They followed up on a bevy of better-than-expected reports from JPMorgan Chase and other big U.S. banks that marked the unofficial start of reporting season late last week.
A lot of focus has been on the strength of the financial industry broadly after the second- and third-largest U.S. bank failures in history last month rocked markets worldwide.
A worry for the broad financial industry has been that customers could pull out deposits amid all the fear about the U.S. banking system. The spotlight has been hottest on regional banks that are a rung or several below in size of JPMorgan Chase and the other massive, “too-big-to-fail” banks. They’re seen as more vulnerable to customers fleeing en masse, akin to the runs that helped cause the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month.
Several regional banks will report their results later this week. So far, the earliest trends for earnings season seem to be encouraging.
“A massive, systemic financial confidence shock appears to have been averted, but tighter credit is manifesting in the real economy,” strategists led by Savita Subramanian wrote in a BofA Global Research report.
The Fed has jacked up interest rates at the fastest pace in decades, and expectations are firming that it will raise them again at its next meeting next month. Even though inflation has been cooling, it still remains far above the Fed’s liking.
Higher rates can stifle inflation but only by slowing the economy, raising the risk of a recession and dragging on prices for stocks, bonds and other investments.
In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield rose to 3.59% from 3.52% late Friday. It helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans.
The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for the Fed, climbed to 4.19% from 4.10%.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 34 cents to $81.17 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 34 cents to $85.10 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched up to 134.49 Japanese yen from 134.42 yen. The euro cost $1.0934, little changed from $1.0930.
AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.