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Stock market today: Hong Kong stocks lead Asian market gains as developer Vanke slumps | National News

HONG KONG (`) — Hong Kong stocks led Asian markets on Tuesday even as Chinese real estate developer Vanke fell more than 10% as investors evaluated economic data from South Korea and Australia.

U.S. futures were lower while oil prices rose.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo climbed 0.3% to 39,936.35, recovering from Monday's decline.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.7% to 16,981.43 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 3,080.51.

Vanke's Hong Kong-listed shares plunged 11.4% in early trading on Tuesday after the company last week reported a sharp 50.6% drop in core profit in 2023 and no dividend payout. In a rare intervention in March, China asked banks to provide financial support to Vanke.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.1% to 2,750.63 after data showed the country's consumer prices rose 3.1% in March compared with the same period last year, matching the pace of the previous month.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained less than 0.1% to 7,900.50, although its manufacturing index fell to 47.3 in March from 47.8 in February, the fastest pace since May 2020.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% from its all-time high to close at 5,243.77 on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% from its record high to 39,566.85. The Nasdaq Composite was an outlier, gaining 0.1% to 16,396.83.

FedEx fell 3.3% after announcing it did not renew its contract with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver domestic air cargo, which ends Sept. 29. Donald Trump's social media company Trump Media & Technology Group lost more than a fifth of its contract value in another hectic day of trading.

Universal Health Services fell 4%, resulting in one of the S&P 500's bigger losses. It said an Illinois jury awarded $535 million in damages to a patient who alleged negligence in a sexual assault case involving another patient.

Newmont helped keep the losses at bay. The mining company's shares rose 1.6% as gold prices continue to hit records.

In the bond market, Treasury yields jumped after a report said U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly returned to growth last month. According to the Institute for Supply Management, a 16-month contraction streak has been broken.

This is the latest evidence that the US economy remains strong despite high interest rates. This is positive for the stock market because it can boost company earnings growth. But it can also maintain upward pressure on inflation. That, in turn, could cause the Federal Reserve to become more cautious about cutting interest rates that investors want.

Following the production data, Wall Street traders briefly reduced their bets on a first rate cut as early as June. That's still a “reasonable baseline expectation,” according to economists at Deutsche Bank, but recent tough comments from Fed officials could suggest interest rates will remain higher for longer than previously thought.

The Fed has raised its key interest rate to its highest level since 2001 in an attempt to slow the economy and drive down investment prices enough to control inflation. Anticipation of coming cuts was a key reason the S&P 500 rose more than 20% from October to March.

There will be several economic reports this week that could influence the Fed's thinking, including updates on job vacancies across the country and the strength of U.S. service companies. The headline comes Friday as economists expect a report showing that hiring fell slightly last month.

A slowdown would be welcome on Wall Street, where they hope the economy remains solid but not so strong that it drives up inflation. Inflation is milder than at its peak almost two years ago. However, progress has become more rocky lately, and reports this year are hotter than expected.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 40 cents to $84.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 34 cents to $87.76 a barrel.

The US dollar rose to 151.66 Japanese yen from 151.63 yen. The euro was at $1.0735, down from $1.0743.

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