May 28th, 2024

Stock market today: Alphabet and Microsoft jump to push Wall Street higher

By Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press on April 26, 2024.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) – Strong gains for Alphabet and Microsoft have the U.S. stock market on track for its first winning week in the last four. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% early Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, and the Nasdaq composite was up 1.2%. Google’s parent company jumped more than 10% after breezing past analysts’ expectations for profit last quarter. Stocks have been under pressure this month as hopes wither for multiple cuts to interest rates this year. Another report added to the pile of data showing stubbornly high inflation, but it wasn’t much worse than forecasts and markets took it in stride.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

TOKYO (AP) – Global shares mostly rose Friday despite worries about the economic outlook and inflation in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.3% in early trading to 8,044.04, while Germany’s DAX added 0.8% to 18,052.68. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.4% to 8,108.91. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures gaining 0.2% to 38,348.00. S&P 500 futures rose 0.8% to 5,121.75.

The Bank of Japan ended a policy meeting with no major changes, keeping its benchmark interest rate in a range of 0 to 0.1%. In March, it raised the key rate from minus 0.1%, citing signs that inflation had reached the central bank’s target of about 2%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8% to 37,934.76, while the U.S. dollar edged up to 156.45 Japanese yen from 155.58 yen.

Although a weak yen is a boon for giant Japanese exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp., whose overseas earnings are boosted when converted into yen, some Japanese officials, including Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, have raised concerns that an overly weak currency is not good for the Japanese economy in the long run.

In other currency trading, the euro cost $1.0746, up from $1.0733.

“The yen’s downward trajectory remains unabated. Notably, the reluctance to intervene directly in the foreign exchange market raises doubts among investors regarding the government’s commitment to support the yen,” said Luca Santos, currency analyst at ACY Securities.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.4% to 7,575.90. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1% to 2,656.33. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 2.1% to reach 17,651.15, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.2% to 3,088.64.

A report this week said the growth of the U.S. economy slowed to a 1.6% annual rate during the first three months of this year from 3.4% at the end of 2023. Worries are lingering whether the economy can avoid a deep recession and support strong profits for companies, even if high inflation takes a while to get fully under control.

Traders are largely betting on the possibility of just one or maybe two cuts to interest rates this year by the Fed, if any, according to data from CME Group.

In energy trading Friday, benchmark U.S. crude edged up 28 cents to $83.85 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 20 cents to $89.21 a barrel.

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AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

Yuri Kageyama is on X https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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