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Stock market today: Asian shares mixed as Japan business confidence rises and US shutdown is averted

AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher in thin trading Monday with many markets closed for holidays.

Markets in China are closed for a weeklong holiday. Markets in South Korea also were closed.

Oil prices gained and U.S. futures were higher as the threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown receded after Congress approved a temporary funding bill late Saturday to keep federal agencies open until Nov. 17.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index advanced after a central bank survey showed business confidence on the rise.

The Bank of Japan’s “tankan” quarterly survey measured business sentiment among major manufacturers at plus 9, up from plus 5 in June. Sentiment among major non-manufacturers rose four points to plus 27, in the sixth consecutive quarter of improvement and the most positive result in about three decades.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.7% at 32,098.40. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 7,037.90. Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.2%, while the SET in Bangkok edged 0.1% lower.

On Friday, Wall Street closed out its worst month of the year with more losses. The S&P 500 slipped 0.3% to 4,288.05 and the Dow fell 0.5% tp 33,507.50. The Nasdaq composite edged 0.1% higher, to 13,219.32.

After easing earlier in the day on encouraging signals about inflation, Treasury yields got back to rising as the day progressed.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury yield returned to 4.58%, where it was late Thursday, after dipping to 4.52%. It’s again near its highest level since 2007.

Treasurys are seen as some of the safest investments possible, and when they pay higher yields, investors are less likely to pay high prices for stocks and other riskier investments. That’s a big reason why the S&P 500 dropped 4.9% in September to drag what had been a big gain for the year down to 11.7%

Treasury yields have been climbing sharply as Wall Street accepts a new normal where the Federal Reserve is likely to keep interest rates high for longer. The Fed is trying to push still-high inflation down to its target, and its main tool of high interest rates does that by trying to slow the economy and hurting prices for investments.

The Fed’s main interest rate is at its highest level since 2001, and the central bank indicated last week it may cut interest rates next year by less than it earlier expected.

Friday’s economic data showed that not only was inflation a touch cooler than expected in August, so was growth in spending by U.S. consumers. That can be a positive for inflation but it may also dent what’s been a big driver keeping the U.S. economy out of a recession.

The resumption of U.S. student-loan repayments also may funnel more dollars away from the spending by consumers that has helped to keep the economy afloat.

Oil prices have jumped to their highest level in more than a year, which is pressuring the economy by raising fuel costs for everyone. Early Monday, a barrel of U.S. crude was up 31 cents to $91.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank 92 cents Friday to settle at $90.79, but it’s still up sharply from $70 in June.

Brent crude, the international standard, rose 27 cents to $92.47 per barrel.

The latest monthly update on the U.S. jobs market is due this week, with a couple of important reports on inflation coming the following week. Postponements of such reports could complicate things for the Fed, which has insisted it will make upcoming decisions on interest rates based on what incoming data say about the economy. The Fed’s next meeting on rates ends on Nov. 1.

In currency trading Monday, the dollar rose to 149.79 Japanese yen from 149.38 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0572 from $1.0589.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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