Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.4% below the previous day's record due to losses for major tech stocks while smaller companies rallied. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo announced quarterly earnings that beat forecasts. Much of the surge was due to strong trading revenue and expectations for better economic performance, which allowed banks to free up reserves held against the possibility loans might go bad.
The results showed “investment banking and trading are strong and that the party will go on for a couple more quarters,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1% to 3,382.40 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 0.8% to 28,666.99.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained less than 0.1% to 29,623.41. The Kospi in Seoul added 0.6% to 3,201.27 while the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was up 0.6% at 7,065.10. India's Sensex opened down 0.6% at 48,227.21. New Zealand and Jakarta declined while Singapore advanced.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 4,124.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 33,730.89. The Nasdaq composite dropped 1% to 13,857.84. Apple and Amazon declined, but the majority of stocks in the S&P 500 rose.
Smaller companies rallied amid growing optimism as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out and businesses reopen. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks climbed 0.8%. Coinbase Global, an exchange for bitcoin and other digital currencies, closed at $328.28 per share on its first trading day after surging to $430 from an opening price of $381. At that price, investors say the company is worth more than $85 billion, more valuable than Nasdaq or Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.
Investor expectations are high as other companies prepare to report quarterly profits. Goldman Sachs rallied 2.3%, but JPMorgan Chase fell 1.9%. Wells Fargo jumped 5.5%, but only after swerving from an early-morning loss.
Also Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said again the U.S. central bank will wait to raise interest rates until the job market has healed and inflation is on track to stay above 2%. In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 10 cents to $63.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.97 on Wednesday to $63.15. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 5 cents to $66.53 per barrel in London. It gained $2.91 the previous session to $66.58.
The dollar edged down to 108.87 yen from Wednesday's 108.94 yen. The euro rose to $1.1975 from $1.1970.