Asian shares higher after S&P 500 tops 4,000 points

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were higher Friday after a broad rally pushed the S&P 500 past 4,000 points for the first time.

Many markets were closed for Good Friday. Tokyo surged more than 1% and Seoul and Shanghai also gained.

Various industries are getting a lift from President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructural renewal initiative. The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.8%.

‘’As we enter Q2, optimism abounds as unquestionably spring is in the air with the macro focus squarely on the U.S. and the Biden administration infrastructure plan,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.

Hopes are rising that the recovery from the pandemic and the boost to spending will spur a powerful rebound in U.S. hiring this year and Friday’s jobs report for March will provide crucial insight into whether those rosy expectations may prove true.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.4% to 29,821.30 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.6% to 3,103.45. The Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.4% to 3,481.39.

Stereo maker Onkyo Home Entertainment’s shares plunged nearly 29% after falling 68% on Thursday as the company is due to be delisted in Tokyo after it reported a negative net worth for two straight years.

The company has so far failed to raise enough funding to cover its debt and has forecast a net loss of 5.9 billion yen ($53.6 million) for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

On Thursday, a tech company rally pushed the S&P 500 up 1.2% to 4,019.87, its first close above the 4,000 mark. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5% to 33,153.21. The technology-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.8% to 13,480.11.

Smaller companies that stand to benefit from a quickly growing economy continued to notch solid gains. The Russell 2000 index picked up 1.5%, to 2,253.90.

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google’s parent company also were among the winners. Health care, household goods stocks and utilities were the only laggards.

Technology stocks benefited from another drop in bond yields, which have been the driving force for the market for several weeks. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.67% from 1.73% the day before. Higher bond yields make stocks seem more expensive by comparison, and tech stocks are among the most expensive after their significant rise last year.

The rally capped a holiday-shortened week for the stock market. U.S. stock exchanges will be closed in observance of Good Friday, though bond trading will be open for half a day, closing at noon Eastern time.

Companies that would benefit from greater sales of electric vehicles also rose Thursday, a day after President Joe Biden outlined various measures to support their use as part of his massive infrastructure plan. Part of that plan includes installation of thousands of additional charging stations around the country. Electric vehicle charger operator ChargePoint gained 11.8%.

Consumer sentiment has been improving along with construction spending and the accelerating rollout of vaccines. Investors are shifting money into companies and sectors that will benefit from people getting back to some semblance of a pre-pandemic normal.

Airlines have been making gains this year as more people bet on a budding recovery for travel, but the industry still faces turbulence ahead. Discount carrier Frontier Airlines underwhelmed on its first day of public trading. The Denver-based airline opened at $18.61, below the low end of a $19 to $21 price target, and closed at $18.85.

The Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week rose to 719,000 last week from 658,000 the previous week. That figure was expected to decline.