After tech shares drive Wall Street rally, Asian shares rise

Asian shares rose Wednesday following a Wall Street rally led by technology companies. However, investors are still concerned about the war in Ukraine as well as inflation.

After tech shares drive Wall Street rally, Asian shares rise

The Asian region had higher benchmarks despite rising energy prices. The dollar gained against Japanese yen.

Investors also watched closely what might happen to President Joe Biden's participation in a NATO meeting, EU Summit Thursday in Europe. This will be where sanctions and the Russian embargo will likely dominate the agenda.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy was set to deliver a highly anticipated online speech in Japan. Japan, which was defeated in World War II and has maintained a pacifist constitution, has adopted a vocal position on Ukraine's war. It joined the West in sanctions against Russia.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei225 soared 3.0% to 28,040.16 in afternoon trading. SoftBank Group Corp., a telecoms and technology company, gained 7.2% while Fast Retailing gained 5.2%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia increased 0.5% to 7,377.90. South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8% to 2,732.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.7% to 22,253.04 while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.3% at 3,271.17

Chinese network equipment manufacturer ZTE Corp.'s shares rose nearly 27% after it said that a U.S. judge had allowed a probation period for the company to end after it was almost destroyed by Washington in a dispute over its dealings.

For the second consecutive day, bond yields rose sharply. This is due to expectations of Federal Reserve raising interest rates aggressively as it attempts to curb the most severe inflation since decades. Wednesday's 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.41%, from 2.30% on Monday. Late Friday's yield was at 2.14%, which has an impact on interest rates for mortgages and other consumer loans.

Stock yields and stocks rose after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the central bank is ready to act more aggressively to raise interest rates in order fight against inflation if necessary.

Technology companies were at the forefront of Tuesday's rally.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, to 4,511.61. More than 70% of the benchmark index stocks saw gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7% to 34 807.46. The tech-rich Nasdaq gained 2% to 14,108.82

Stocks of smaller companies also rebounded. The Russell 2000 index increased 1.1% to 2,088.34.

The markets have been volatile as Wall Street adjusts for slower economic growth after the federal stimulus spending has ceased.

The central bank announced last Wednesday a quarter-point rate rise, which was its first increase in interest rates since 2018. Since May 2000, the Fed has not raised its benchmark rate by half-point.

The global economic recovery has already seen energy and commodity prices rise as demand exceeded supply. However, the war in Ukraine has driven oil, wheat, and other commodities prices higher. Businesses are more difficult to run due to higher shipping costs and other problems. Many of these costs have been passed onto consumers. Higher prices for food, clothing, and other goods may cause them to reduce their spending, which could result in slower economic growth.

U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 36 cents per barrel to $111.76 per barrel in energy trading. Brent, an international standard, rose by 81 cents per barrel to $116.29

"With little to no pressure Russia other than military intervention, the market has begun to price in the loss a substantial amount of Russian oil that needs to be replenished. According to Stephen Innes, managing partner of SPI Asset Management, it could take many years for Russian oil markets and other factors to stabilize.

As the end of March nears, investors will be preparing for the next round corporate earnings reports. This could give a better picture of how industries handle rising costs.

The U.S. dollar edged higher in currency trading to 121.11 Japanese Yuen, from 120.81. From $1.1033, the euro cost $1.1041, an increase of $1.1033.


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