US stocks rise on tech outlook as yen rebounds

A rally in the yen against the dollar sparked speculation of possible intervention by Japaneses authorities (Richard A. Brooks)
A rally in the yen against the dollar sparked speculation of possible intervention by Japaneses authorities (Richard A. Brooks)

The yen rebounded Monday from a 34-year low against the dollar after what some traders speculate could have been the first intervention by Japanese authorities to support the weakening currency since late 2022.

Meanwhile, US shares pushed higher as last week's tech rally continued, led by Tesla after its founder Elon Musk won key security clearances during a trip to China.

In Asia, the yen sank to 160.17 to the dollar in choppy but thin holiday trading, before suddenly bouncing back as high as 154.54.

The yen's initial drop "was met by a wave of dollar sellers," said David Morrison, senior market analyst at Trade Nation.

"It's unclear whether the BoJ (Bank of Japan) has intervened directly or not, but the dollar is down this morning, while there has been little movement in crosses outside of those including either US dollars or Japanese yen."

Masato Kanda, Japan's vice minister of finance for international affairs, made no comment to reporters on Monday.

The Japanese currency had come under pressure again after the Bank of Japan refused to tighten monetary policy further at its meeting last week.

At the same time, forecast-topping US inflation reports have dimmed hopes that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in the coming months, if at all in 2024.

Japanese officials have repeatedly said they are ready to step in if there were wild speculative movements.

On Wall Street, the major indices drifted higher, extending positive momentum from late last week.

This week's calendar includes April jobs data, as well as surveys measuring manufacturing sector health and consumer confidence. Apple, Coca-Cola and Pfizer are among the large companies reporting quarterly earnings.

Tesla jumped nearly 15 percent after its locally produced models were listed among electric vehicles that meet China's data security requirements for smart cars during Musk's whistlestop visit to the world's biggest car market.

"There is some clear rebound fever in" Tesla shares, said analyst Patrick O'Hare, noting they've risen by nearly 40 percent from last week.

Most Asian equity markets closed higher Monday, following through from last week's rally on Wall Street.

Eurozone stocks slipped, but London struck another record peak before giving up most of its gains. Shares in mining giant Anglo-American climbed 2.8 percent after rejecting a bid from Australia's BHP, which is expected to come back with a higher offer.

In Amsterdam, Philips shares closed up around 29 percent after the company reached a settlement to put an end to litigation in the United States over recalled sleep apnea machines. 

- Key figures around 2020 GMT -

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 156.09 yen from 158.33 yen on Friday

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 38,386.09 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 5,116.17 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 15,983.08 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP less than 0.1 percent at 8,147.03 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 8,065.15 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.2 percent at 18,118.32 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,981.09 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.5 percent at 17,746.91 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,113.04 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0725 from $1.0693

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2564 from $1.2493

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.34 pence from 85.59 pence

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 1.2 percent at $88.40 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.5 percent at $82.63 per barrel