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Stock market today: Tokyo gains, most Asian markets closed

AP Business Writer

Shares advanced Monday in Tokyo and Sydney while most Asian markets were closed for May 1 holidays.

The traditional Labor Day holidays around the globe likely limited initial market reactions to a delay in an expected decision by U.S. regulators on what to do with troubled First Republic Bank.

San Francisco-based First Republic has struggled since the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in early March, as investors and depositors fret that the bank may not survive as an independent entity for much longer.

First Republic has been seen as the most likely next bank to collapse due to its high amount of uninsured deposits and exposure to low interest rates. Regulators were thought to be seeking to sell all or part of the bank before markets reopened for trading Monday.

The bank’s stock closed at $3.51 on Friday, a fraction of the roughly $170 a share it traded for a year ago.

“A quiet Monday open shaded by a holiday feel with an undertone of no-news-is-good-news on the Frist Republic Front,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

In Asian trading Monday, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.9% to 29,123.18 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney advanced 0.5% to 7,344.20. Other markets in the region were closed.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 4,169.48. Despite some sharp swings this week, it still clinched a second straight winning month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.8% to 34,098.16, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.7% to 12,226.58.

Exxon Mobil did some of the market’s heavier lifting after it rose 1.3%. It reported stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than forecast.

Intel gained 4% after reporting a milder loss than expected and stronger revenue for the latest quarter. Mondelez International, the food giant behind Oreo and Ritz, rose 3.9% after topping Wall Street’s estimates. It also raised its forecast for revenue and earnings over the full year.

They helped to offset a 4% drop for Amazon, which weighed heavily on the market despite reporting stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. Analysts pointed to a slowdown in revenue growth at its AWS cloud computing business.

The economy is slowing under the weight of higher interest rates meant to get inflation under control. Even though most companies so far this reporting season have beaten expectations, those were set low given forecasts that the economy may tip into recession.

Based on recent economic reports, traders are betting the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again at a meeting next week and possibly again in June.

A report on Friday said the inflation measure that the Fed prefers to use came in close to expectations for March, but is well above the target. Also, wages rose more during the first three months of the year than economists expected, potentially keeping inflation more entrenched.

The Fed has raised its key overnight interest rate to its highest level since 2007, up from its record low, following a barrage of hikes since early last year. Together, they’ve already slowed the economy’s growth down to an estimated 1.1% annual rate at the start of this year.

They’ve also caused cracks in the banking system.

The Federal Reserve released a report Friday blaming the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on a combination of poor bank management, weakened regulations and lax government supervision.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gave up 75 cents to $76.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $2.02 on Friday.

Brent crude, the standard for pricing for international trading, shed 65 cents to $79.68 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 136.92 Japanese yen from 136.24 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1002 from $1.0023.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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