Asian markets mixed as profits fuel gains on Wall Street

BANGKOK — Stocks were mixed in Asia on Thursday as the latest batch of corporate earnings reports kept investors in a buying mood, driving gains on Wall Street.

Markets in China remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tokyo NIK’s Nikkei 225 index,
-1.18%
lost 1.1% while the S&P/ASX 200 XJO in Sydney,
-0.14%
lost 0.4%. Kospi 180721 from Seoul,
+2.42%
jumped 2.4%, catching up with earlier gains elsewhere after South Korean markets reopened after the holidays. Reference STI in Singapore,
+1.90%
also gained more than 2%.

US futures fell, with the contract for the S&P 500 ES00,
-0.92%
down 0.9%, and the Nasdaq-100 NQ00 futures contract,
-2.18%
fall of more than 2%.

Investors look at the latest round of corporate earnings to gauge the damage rising costs have had on different industries and how companies will weather inflation going forward.

Most of the companies that reported results for the last three months of 2021 achieved better-than-expected profits and revenues, despite the higher costs they face due to rising inflation.

But Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms FB,
+1.25%
plunged 22.9% in after-hours trading after its latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street estimates. That rattled investors in Asia, analysts said.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell slightly after major oil-producing countries decided on Wednesday to stick to their plan for a little more oil in the global economy. This will likely keep prices near seven-year highs. The 23-member OPEC+ alliance opted to add 400,000 barrels per day in March.

The US benchmark crude oil CLH22,
-0.56%
fell 39 cents to $87.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had gained 6 cents to $88.26 a barrel on Wednesday.

Brent crude BRNJ22,
-0.41%,
the basis for international oil prices, lost 23 cents to $89.24 a barrel.

On Wednesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 SPX,
+0.94%
rose 0.9% to 4,589.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
+0.63%
rose 0.6% to 35,629.33 and the Nasdaq COMP,
+0.50%
added 0.5% to 14,417.55. The indices are on pace for strong gains this week.

Bond yields fell. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.77% from 1.80% on Tuesday evening.

Markets face a variety of threats, including rising inflation, the prospect of higher interest rates, potential conflict in Ukraine, and the continued slowdown of COVID-19 on economic recovery.

Rising costs are threatening profit margins and putting pressure on consumer spending. The Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates to try to calm inflation, which is at its highest level in four decades. Investors expect the first rate hike in March and at least three more in 2022.

With about 40% of S&P companies having released quarterly results so far this earnings season, about 64% have reported earnings and revenue that beat analyst estimates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In other exchanges, the US dollar USDJPY,
+0.06%
remained unchanged at 114.43 Japanese yen.

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