“Increased hopes for further interest rate cuts by the Fed look to help stabilize markets,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% to 21,398.43 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.5% to 25,969.34.
Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 2,032.50 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4% to 6,521.00. India’s Sensex advanced 0.5% to 38,286.74. New Zealand gained while Singapore declined and Taiwan was unchanged.
On Wall Street, shares were boosted Thursday by strength in technology industries. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.8% to 2,910.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5% to 26,201.04. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 1.1% to 7,872.26.
Microsoft Corp. climbed 1.2%. Chipmakers were among the sector’s biggest gainers. Nvidia rose 4.8% and Micron Technology added 3.5%. Health care, communication services and industrial stocks also helped power the rebound. Pfizer rose 2.2%, Facebook gained 2.7% and Boeing rose 1.3%.
Investors are wrestling with uncertainty about the economy and the impact of a U.S.-Chinese tariff war. Adding to their unease, the Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said its non-manufacturing index sank to 52.6 from 56.4 in August. Readings above 50 signal growth, but September’s figures are the lowest since August 2016.
Services account for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy and have been resilient in the face of the tariff war that is squeezing manufacturers. The Fed has lowered rates by a quarter-percentage point twice this year in a bid to shield the economy from slowing growth abroad and the effects of the trade war. Investors put the odds the Fed will cut rates again at the end of this month at above 88%, according to the CME Group.
The federal government is due to release its own snapshot of the job market on Friday. The Labor Department is expected to report employers added 145,000 jobs last month, up from 130,00 in August, according to analysts polled by FactSet.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 29 cents to $52.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 19 cents on Thursday to close at $52.45. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 29 cents to $57.93 per barrel in London. It gained 2 cents the previous session to $57.71.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 106.81 yen from Thursday’s 106.91 yen. The euro gained to $1.0979 from $1.0965.