Stock market today: World shares mostly gain after a fall in Big Tech stocks pulls US shares lower

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HONG KONG (AP) — World shares were mostly higher on Wednesday after tumbling Big Tech stocks dragged Wall Street to its worst day in three weeks.

Most major markets logged gains, though Shanghai edged lower and Tokyo’s benchmark was flat. Oil prices advanced.

Germany’s DAX added 0.1% to 17,718.00 and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2% at 7,945.82.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was 0.2% higher to 7,663.94. Later in the day, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt was to deliver the Spring Budget. It is the last budget proposal before an election, and signals suggested tax cuts may be a key highlight.

The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.3% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was virtually flat at 40,090.78.

Hong Kong’s benchmark rebounded 1.7% to 16,438.09 ahead of reports by top Chinese economic officials on the sidelines of the annual session of the country’s ceremonial legislature. It had fallen 2.6% a day before, after China’s premier said the country’s target for economic growth this year is around 5% and outlined plans for only modest stimulus to spur spending and investment.

The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3% to 3,039.93.

Officials said the target was within reach, with effort, and outlined plans to focus on upgrading manufacturing, protecting investors and boosting exports.

In Seoul, the Kospi sank 0.3% to 2,641.49.

South Korea’s inflation accelerated in February, with the consumer price index rising 3.1% compared to the same month a year earlier, according to official data Wednesday. The Bank of Korea held interest rates steady for a ninth straight meeting last month, while the inflation rate remains higher than the annual target of 2%.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher to 7,733.50 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the economy expanded at a 0.2% pace in the last quarter. India’s Sensex gained 0.4% and Bangkok’s SET added 1%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 dropped 1% for its second straight loss after closing last week at an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1% and the Nasdaq composite led the market lower with a 1.7% slide.

Apple’s decline of 2.8% was one of the heaviest weights on the market. It has been struggling on worries about sluggish iPhone sales in China, where it faces tough competition and a faltering overall economy.

Bitcoin briefly rose above $69,000 Tuesday, surpassing its record set in 2021, before pulling back below $63,000. It’s been surging in part because of new exchange-traded funds that offer easier access for investors to the cryptocurrency. It roughly tripled over the last 12 months, but it’s notorious for huge swings in both directions that can happen painfully and suddenly.

Hopes for coming cuts to interest rates got a boost after a report showed growth for U.S. construction, health care and other services industries slowed by more last month than economists expected.

Wall Street’s hope has been that the economy will continue plugging along, but not at such a strong pace that it keeps upward pressure on inflation. That’s because traders want the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this year, something it’s hinted it will do only if inflation cools decisively toward its 2% target.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give testimony before Congress on Wednesday, which could further sway expectations for when cuts to rates could begin.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.17% Wednesday from 4.22% the day before.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil added 60 cents to $78.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 60 cents to $82.64 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 149.74 Japanese yen from 150.04 yen. The euro rose to $1.0873 from $1.0855.

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