Asian shares mixed after S&P 500 squeaks to new record high

Business

A currency trader walks near a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Shares are mixed in Asia after major Chinese property developer Evergrande said a plan to sell its property management arm to a smaller rival had fallen through. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Asian shares were mixed Friday after a late-in-the-day wave of buying pushed the S&P 500 to a fresh record high.

Benchmarks rose in Hong Kong and Tokyo but fell in Sydney and Shanghai.

An official newspaper, the Securities Times, said China Evergrande Group made an overdue bond payment on Friday. The property developer’s struggle to reduce its 2 trillion yuan ($310 billion) of debt to comply with tighter official curbs on borrowing has prompted fears a default might trigger a financial crisis.

Evergrande wired $83.5 million to account for a bond payment that was due Sept. 23, the report said. The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares gained 5%.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.5% to 26,135.17 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 3,583.65.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.6% to 28,892.11 while the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.2% to 3,013.69. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 7,415.90.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 bounced back from an early slide to rise 0.3% to 4,549.78, its seventh straight gain. That eclipsed the record high it set on Sept. 2. It is on pace for its third straight weekly gain.

The Dow slipped less than 0.1%, to 35,603.08, pulled lower by IBM’s 9.6% slump after it reported quarterly revenue that fell shy of analysts’ forecasts. It is just below its all-time high set on Aug. 16.

The Nasdaq gained 0.6% to 15,215.70.

Smaller stocks edged higher. The Russell 2000 rose 0.3%, to 2,296.18.

A mix of companies that rely on direct consumer spending led the gains Thursday. Home Depot rose 1.8% and Pool Corp. gained 7.7%.

Financial companies also fell broadly. Capital One slid 4.4% and Discover Financial Services dropped 6.1%.

The uneven finish came as investors continued to review the latest company earnings reports, with global supply chain problems and the impact from rising inflation a key focus. Many companies have warned that the supply chain issues and overall higher costs will hurt operations and Wall Street is trying to gauge just how much it will sting corporate profit growth and margins.

Teslarose 3.3% after reporting encouraging third-quarter profits, despite parts shortages and shipping delays. Footwear company Crocs vaulted 9.3% after reporting solid third-quarter results, noting it has taken steps to navigate its own supply chain headaches.

Several carmakers and automotive products companies made gains following Tesla’s latest earnings. Ford rose 3.2% and AutoZone rose 2.2%.

WeWork rose 13.5% in its second attempt to become a publicly traded company. The company, which provides shared workspaces, had a spectacular collapse during its first attempt to do so two years ago and is emerging after the pandemic closed millions of square feet of office space.

Shares in a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that is planning on taking a new media company launched by former President Donald Trump public soared after news of the venture broke late Wednesday. Digital World Acquisition vaulted 356%. The company, which went public Sept. 8, has merged with Trump Media & Technology Group, which plans to launch a social media app and streaming video service.

Bond yields moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.68% from 1.69% late Thursday.

Outside of earnings, investors received an encouraging update on the labor market. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 32 cents to $82.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 92 cents to $82.50 per barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, used as a standard for global pricing, shed 43 cents to $84.18 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 114.08 Japanese yen from 113.99 yen late Thursday. The euro advanced to $1.1631 from $1.1624.

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AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.

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