Asian shares mixed after gains on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Europe and Asia on Monday ahead of China’s release of economic growth figures and a policy update this week from Japan’s central bank.

Oil prices declined.

Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% higher to 15,101.73 and the CAC40 in Paris was nearly unchanged at 7,022.46. Britain’s FTSE was up 0.1% at 7,851.93. The future for the S&P 500 lost 0.5% while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.3%.

China was due to release a slew of economic data on Tuesday, including its GDP for the last quarter. Economists estimate that the world’s second-largest economy slowed further in October-December with a sharp rise in COVID-19 outbreaks as the government reversed course and loosened its rigorous pandemic controls.

On Wednesday, Japan’s central bank is due to provide an update on monetary policy as expectations build that it might opt to let yields on long-term government bonds rise further even if it does not change its minus 0.1% benchmark interest rate. The Bank of Japan’s decision last month to let the yield on 10-year bonds fluctuate in a wider range shook world markets.

In Asian trading Monday, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.1% to 25,822.32. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained less than 0.1% to 21,746.72 and the Kospi in Seoul added 0.6% to 2,399.86. The Shanghai Composite index added 1% to 3,227.59.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.8% to 7,388.20. Taiwan advanced 0.7% while Mumbai’s Sensex lost 0.3%.

Bangkok’s SET index gained 0.2% on forecasts for a turnaround for the economy, which has been battered by the pandemic.

The year has begun with optimism that cooling inflation could lead the Federal Reserve to ease off soon on sharp interest rate hikes that slow the economy and risk causing a recession. They also hurt investment prices.

Slowing segments of the economy and still-high inflation are dragging on profits for companies, which are one of the main levers that set stock prices. Friday marked the first big day for companies in the the S&P 500 to show how they fared during the final three months of 2022, with a bevy of banks at the head of the line.

One big worry on Wall Street is that S&P 500 companies may report a drop in profits for the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

If the economy does fall into a recession, as many investors expect, sharper drops for profits may be set for 2023. That’s why the forecasts for upcoming earnings that CEOs give this reporting season may be even more important than their latest results.

The Federal Reserve has been intent on such numbers staying low. Otherwise, it could cause a vicious cycle that would only worsen inflation. Consumers could start accelerating their purchases in hopes of getting ahead of higher prices, for example, which would only push prices higher.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 23 cents to $79.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the pricing standard for international trading, gave up 34 cents to $84.94 per barrel in London.

The dollar was trading at 128.42 Japanese yen, down from 127.87 yen. The euro bought $1.0831, barely changed from $1.0832.

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