A currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Asian shares advanced Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street after Verizon and other big companies reported fatter profits for the summer than expected. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares advanced Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street after Verizon and other big companies reported fatter profits for the summer than expected.

Benchmarks rose in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai but fell in Seoul and Sydney. U.S. futures were mixed and oil prices declined.

As the pace of profit reports picks up, the hope is that companies will report their first growth in a year. Such strength is crucial for stock markets, which have slumped under the weight of higher bond yields.

The 10-year Treasury yield has been rising rapidly from less than 3.50% in the spring and catching up with the Federal Reserve’s main overnight interest rate, which is at its highest level since 2001, above 5.25%.

High yields hurt prices for stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investments. They also slow the economy bluntly and add stress for the entire financial system.

The 10-year Treasury yield was steady at 4.84% early Wednesday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 1.3% to 31,466.92. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.8% to 17,290.91 and the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.5% at 2,977.84.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,373.88, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney was flat at 6,856.60. India’s Sensex dropped 1.3% and the SET in Bangkok was up 1.2%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.7% to 4,247.68 to break a five-day losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 33,141.38. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.9%, to 13,139.87.

Verizon jumped 9.3% after saying it increased its number of broadband subscribers by 20% and earned more than analysts expected during the summer.

General Electric rallied 6.5% after delivering better-than-expected earnings and raising its profit forecast for the year. Coca-Cola rose 2.9% after it said growth in Mexico, India and other markets helped drive it to better profit during the summer than analysts expected.

Until now, the overall economy has remained remarkably resilient in the face of much higher interest rates. A solid job market and spending by U.S. households has helped keep the economy chugging along.

But some investors worry that even if interest rates and yields climb no further, they’re still high enough to eventually drag the economy into a recession if the Fed holds pat.

Strong data reports recently have driven expectations for the U.S. economy’s growth in the third quarter of the year sharply higher. Economists at Goldman Sachs, for example, have raised their forecast for the quarter’s growth to 4.6% from just 1.5% in mid-August.

A preliminary report on Tuesday said business activity is strengthening in October by more than economists expected. The report from S&P Global indicated demand for manufacturers improved for the first time since April.

While such strength has prevented a recession, it could also be fueling inflation, encouraging the Fed to keep rates high for longer. That in turn could lead to more weakness in the future.

Some warning signals are also lying within the strong run of corporate profit reports.

General Motors, for example, said it made more during the summer than analysts had forecast. But it also warned that strikes by its unionized workers are cutting sharply into its pretax earnings. GM stock fell 2.3% after drifting between gains and losses several times.

In the oil market, prices have dipped, taking some more pressure off inflation. On Wednesday, they edged higher. A barrel of benchmark U.S. oil was up 7 cents at $83.80. On Tuesday, it dropped $1.75 to settle at $83.74.

Brent crude, the international standard, gained 10 cents early Wednesday to $88.17 per barrel. It fell $1.76 Tuesday to $88.07 per barrel.

U.S. oil had been above $93 last month, and it’s bounced up and down since then amid concerns that the latest Hamas-Israel war could lead to disruptions in supplies from Iran or other big oil-producing countries.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar bought 149.81 Japanese yen, down from 149.85 yen. The euro was at $1.0604, up from $1.0596.

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