Monday, March 4, 2024
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Asian markets mixed, most closed for holidays

AP – Asian shares were mixed yesterday, with most regional markets closed for holidays, while United States (US) futures edged lower after the S&P 500 ended last week above 5,000.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.4 per cent to 7,614.90 and the Sensex in India shed 0.7 per cent to 71,129.07. Thailand’s SET gained less than 0.1 per cent and in Jakarta, the benchmark gained 0.8 per cent ahead of an election to be held tomorrow.

With mainland Chinese markets closed for the week for the Lunar New Year, there was a dearth of market moving news.

Tokyo’s markets were also shut yesterday, for a one-day holiday.

This week will bring an important update from the US on consumer inflation expectations. Japan is due on Thursday to announce its gross domestic products (GDP) growth for the last quarter of 2023.

The US price data may not have a major impact on monetary policy, “However, the good news is that US inflation probably decreased at the beginning of the year, reinforcing expectations that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may consider interest rate cuts in the coming months,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent, finishing above 5,000 for the first time, at 5,026.61. It was the 10th record in less than a month for the index, which closed its 14th winning week in the last 15 to continue a romp that began around Halloween.

The Nasdaq composite jumped 1.2 per cent to pull within 0.4 per cent of its own all-time high, which was set in 2021. It closed at 15,990.66.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was a laggard, slipping 0.1 per cent to 38,749 a day after it set a record.

Wall Street’s rally has been fueled by hopes that cooling inflation will lead the Fed to dial down the pressure by cutting interest rates.

A person looks at an electronic stock board in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: AP