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Stock market today: Asian shares shrug off latest Wall St rout as Chinese factory activity weakens.

Asian shares were higher on Friday as investors shrugged off yet another decline on Wall Street, while an official survey showed a weakening in Chinese factory activity.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.2% to 38,119.96 and the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.4% to 2,646.44.

Chinese shares rose despite the survey showing further pressure on an economy already burdened by a prolonged crisis in the property industry. But negative indicators often fuel speculation that they will lead Beijing to counter with growth-friendly policies.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1.2% to 18,446.05 and the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.3% at 3,099.72.


Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5% to 7,668.90.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 sank 0.6% to 5,235.48, even though the majority of stocks within the index and across Wall Street were higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9% to 38,111.48, and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.1% to 16,737.08.

Friday will bring a monthly update on a gauge of inflation that the Federal Reserve prefers to use. The tail end of earnings reporting is another driver for the market. Profits have largely been better than expected for the start of 2024.

Salesforce, which helps businesses manage their customers, lost nearly a fifth of its value after reporting weaker revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected. Its shares tumbled 19.7%.

Kohl’s fell even more, 22.9%, after reporting a surprise loss for the latest quarter when analysts were expecting to see a profit.

And Nvidia finally ran out of momentum, falling 3.8% after blowing past analysts' expectations in its latest profit report, which fed more fuel into Wall Street's frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology.

Helping to support the market were better-than-expected profit reports from a range of companies. Best Buy topped forecasts even though its revenue fell short last quarter, and its stock rose 13.4%. Foot Locker ran 15% higher after likewise reporting better-than-expected profit despite ringing up sales shy of analysts’ forecasts.

Stocks also broadly got a boost from easing Treasury yields in the bond market, providing relief after they had climbed earlier this week on worries about tepid demand for Treasury bonds following several U.S. government auctions. Higher yields put downward pressure on all kinds of investments.

Yields fell Thursday after a couple reports showed the U.S. economy isn’t quite as strong as expected.

One report showed more U.S. workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than expected, though the number of layoffs still remains low compared with history. Another suggested the overall U.S. economy’s growth may not have been quite as strong as earlier thought.

A slowdown in the economy could give the Federal Reserve more confidence that inflation is sustainably heading down to its 2% target. That in turn could convince it to cut the federal funds rate, which has been sitting at the highest level in more than two decades.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.54% from 4.62% late Wednesday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for Fed action, fell to 4.92% from 4.98%.

Among other gainers, jumped 19.4% after the software company topped expectations for both profit and revenue in the latest quarter. HP gained 17% after edging past forecasts for earnings.

Many retailers are also reporting, as they usually do to close each earnings season, and scrutiny is high because of worries about whether U.S. households can keep spending. Still-high inflation is hurting them, particularly those making lower incomes.

Dollar General swung from gains to a loss of 8.1% after beating profit forecasts and edging past expectations for revenue in the latest quarter. The retailer, which serve many lower-income customers, said it saw strong traffic growth at its stores through the quarter.

Build-A-Bear Workshop tumbled 13.9%. The company reported worse drops in revenue and results for the latest quarter than analysts expected and said it had to contend with a “weaker spending environment” overall.

In other dealings early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 35 cents to $77.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, the international standard, shed 24 cents to $81.64 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 156.77 Japanese yen from 156.82 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0817 from $1.0834.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press