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Stock market today: Asian shares advance ahead of U.S. inflation report

TOKYO — Asian shares rose on Friday as traders looked ahead to a major inflation report that could influence the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4% to 39,583.08. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 7,768.00. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1% to 2,787.51. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3% to 17,767.93, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.9% to 2,971.18.

In Japan, the government reported that industrial production in May was stronger than forecast at 2.8% and the unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous month at 2.6%.

On Thursday the S&The P500 gained 0.1%. The benchmark index is hovering near the all-time high it reached last week.

The Nasdaq index rose 0.3% and remains just below its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.1% higher.

All in all, the S&P500 rose 4.97 points to 5,482.87. The Dow rose 36.26 points to 39,164.06. The Nasdaq gained 53.53 points to close at 17,858.68.

Gains at retailers and communications services companies helped offset losses at consumer goods makers, financial stocks and elsewhere in the market. Amazon.com rose 2.2% and Meta Platforms rose 1.3%.

Walgreens strengthens alliance fell 22.2% for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. Reported results fell short of forecasts and lowered its outlook. The company said it could close hundreds more stores over the next three years.

Jeans maker Levi Strauss fell 15.4% after its latest quarterly sales results fell short of analysts’ expectations, as well as its current profit forecast for the year.

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Herb manufacturer McCormick rose 4.3%. This is one of the biggest gains in the market after beating analysts’ earnings expectations.

Chipmaker Micron Technology fell 7.1% after its latest forecast left investors disappointed.

Treasury yields fell in the bond market. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, fell to 4.28% from 4.33% late Wednesday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury note fell to 4.71% from 4.75%.

The stock market has been lackluster this week ahead of the release of the government’s next big inflation report on Friday. The personal consumption expenditures index, or PCE, is the Fed’s favorite measure of inflation.

Economists expect the report to show a modest decline in inflation to 2.6% in May, after inflation of 2.7% in April. That’s down from the PCE’s peak of 7.1% in mid-2022. Other inflation measures, including the consumer price index, have also eased significantly over the past two years.

The latest inflation updates may impact the decision of the central bank on when to cut interest rates, which are at their highest levels in more than 20 years and are having an impact worldwide. Wall Street is betting that the central bank will start cutting interest rates at its September meeting.

An update from the government said the American economy grew at an annual rate of 1.4% from January through March. The figure is a slight revision from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. It marks the slowest quarterly growth since spring 2022.

A slowdown in consumer spending could further soften inflation, but too much of a slowdown could deliver a more painful blow to the economy. The Federal Reserve is trying to time its efforts to bring inflation back to its 2% target without slowing the economy so much that it falls into recession.

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The S&The P 500 is on track for its fourth straight winning week. With one trading day left this month, the index is up just under 4% for June and about 15% so far this year.

In energy trading, U.S. crude rose 47 cents to $82.21 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 46 cents to $86.85 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar rose to 161.00 Japanese yen from 160.72 yen. The euro was worth $1.0693, compared to $1.0709.

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