Stock market today: Asian shares mixed after Wall St edges back from recent highs

BANGKOK– Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday after US stocks broke off record highs.

US futures fell as oil prices rose.

Traders are becoming more cautious following the New Year’s rally that has gripped much of the global markets.

“All in all, investors are taking a well-deserved breather to start the week,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a commentary. “This subdued tone signals a moderation in investor sentiment following the recent tech-driven buying spree.”

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, which has broken records twice in recent days, was flat at 39,239.52 in quiet trading. That was after the government reported that consumer prices rose 2.2% in January from a year earlier, down from 2.6% in December but above expectations.

Higher inflation supports expectations that the Bank of Japan will soon make a change to its long-standing ultra-loose monetary policy, which is underpinned by a benchmark interest rate of minus 0.1%.

Chinese markets were mixed, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.2% to 16,595.29 and the Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 2,996.87.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.9% to 2,623.40, while India’s Sensex rose 0.2%. In Bangkok, the SET fell 0.5%.

On Monday the S&The P500 fell 0.4% to 5,069.53 after closing at a record high last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to 39,069.23, and the Nasdaq index fell 0.1% to 15,976.25.

Berkshire Hathaway was one of the market’s toughest stocks after famed investor Warren Buffet warned shareholders not to expect any more “eye-popping performance” because there are no bargains available in the market big enough to make a meaningful difference to make. Buffett is notorious for buying companies when they are cheap.

Still, Buffett’s company reported stronger results for the end of 2023 than analysts expected. Class B shares of the company, whose subsidiaries include GEICO, Fruit of the Loom and Brooks running shoes, initially rose more than 3% but later fell to a loss of 1.9%.

Analysts are increasingly warning that prices have risen too high.

The S&The P500 is on track to post its fourth straight winning month and is having its 15th winning week in the last 17. And the stock market may not have been cheap even when it bottomed in October 2022.

This recent rally was sparked last October on hopes that inflation will cool enough for the Federal Reserve to cut rates several times this year. Such cuts would ease pressure on the economy and the financial system while increasing investment prices.

Expectations are still high that interest rate cuts will eventually come this year, but traders have postponed their predictions after some stronger-than-expected reports on the economy. In the meantime, this data raises hopes that companies’ earnings growth could strengthen, which will also benefit share prices.

Last week, shares got a big boost after another explosive report from Nvidia drew more attention to the frenzy surrounding artificial intelligence technology. Nvidia, whose chips power AI technologies, rose another 0.3% on Monday, and is already up nearly 60% so far this year.

Earnings reporting season for the major companies in the S&The P 500 is in the tail end, but still offers updates from several big names this week. These include several that could add color to how well U.S. household spending is holding up. Such spending has been one of the main reasons why the US economy has broken expectations of a possible recession.

Best Buy, Lowe’s and TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls, all report this week. This includes several major technology-related companies, including and HP.

On the economic calendar, the US government will provide the latest update on Thursday on the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure. It is typically a lower-impact report because consumer and wholesale inflation data for the month has already been released.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude rose 14 cents to $77.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 13 cents to $81.80 a barrel.

The US dollar fell from 150.72 yen to 150.50 Japanese yen. The euro fell from $1.0854 to $1.0852.