Asian shares gain, lifted by strong consumer sentiment data

FILE – The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in New York. Stocks are opening broadly higher Friday, July 15, 2022, on Wall Street, but not enough to erase their losses for the week. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were higher in Asia on Monday after Wall Street capped a week of losses with a broad rally for stocks Friday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1% to 20,507.34, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7% to 3,251.54. In Seoul, the Kospi jumped 1.4% to 2,363.36. Australia’sS&P/ASX 500 added 0.5% to 6,637.50.

New Zealand shares edged higher even after the government reported that inflation hit a 32-year high of 7.3% in the April-June quarter. It was 6.9% in the previous quarter.

On Sunday, the New Zealand government announced it would extend until January a program to cut gas taxes and public transport costs.

“We recognize this is a tough time for New Zealanders and the rise in the cost of living is making it hard for many,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday. U.S. futures edged higher while oil prices declined by less than $1.

Solid earnings from big companies and an encouraging report on consumer sentiment helped lift shares on Friday, but Wall Street benchmarks still ended the week lower.

A July survey from the University of Michigan showed that inflation expectations held steady or improved, along with general consumer sentiment. That was welcome news after reports that showed consumer prices remained extremely hot in June, along with wholesale prices for businesses.

The report also bodes well for investors looking for signs that the Federal Reserve might eventually ease off its aggressive policy to fight inflation.

The S&P 500 rose 1.9% to 3,863.16. snapping a five-day losing streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.1% to 31,288.26 and the Nasdaq gained 1.8% to 11,452.42. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market, sending the Russell 2000 index 2.2% higher, to 1,744.37.

Inflation and its impact on businesses and consumers remain a key focus for Wall Street. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in an effort to curtail rising inflation. The Fed has already raised rates three times this year.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 81 cents to $96.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the standard for international trading, gave up 40 cents to $100.76 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 138.12 Japanese yen from 138.98 yen. The euro rose to $1.0111 from $1.0080.

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