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Asian markets mostly lower, Nikkei defies gravity

Asian shares make slight advances with US inflation data on horizon
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February 26, 2024 (MLN): Asian markets were mostly lower Monday, although Tokyo's key Nikkei index hit fresh all-time highs after two of the three main US indices closed at records, as APP reported.

But investors were turning to profit-taking as last week's mega market rally, fueled by stellar results from US technology titan Nvidia , loses steam, analysts said.

On Wall Street on Friday, the Dow and the S&P ended higher than ever but the tech-heavy Nasdaq index slipped, following a three-percent surge a day earlier.

The "Nvidia advance moderated while other big tech share prices eased following a decent AI-driven run of late", said Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank.

Tokyo's Nikkei index was up 0.5%, pushing further past the December 1989 record it smashed on Friday.

But Chinese shares faltered, with Hong Kong opening higher then losing 0.6% in morning trade, and Shanghai down 0.4%.

The losses came despite the Chinese government saying it wants to boost sales of cars, home appliances and other consumer products, in "piecemeal incentives to stimulate the economy", Catril said.

Singapore dropped 0.9% and Seoul also fell 0.5%. Bangkok, Jakarta and Wellington were lower, while Sydney was flat. Taipei gained 0.1%.

Oil prices were down, extending losses on Friday as the G7 countries pledged new sanctions on Russia two years after its invasion of Ukraine.

"Lack of demand (for crude oil) remains a concern while new US and EU Russia sanctions added to the uncertainty," Catril said.

Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management also said the global oil supply would likely decelerate this year.

"Global growth, and consequently global oil demand, is more likely to underperform expectations due to the challenges currently confronting the Chinese economy and the need for the Fed to persist in mitigating inflationary pressures," he said.

This week brings a raft of major indicators including January CPI for Australia and Japan, and "Super Friday" with key inflation and manufacturing data released by both the United States and China.

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Posted on: 2024-02-26T10:49:44+05:00