Asian shares were mixed yesterday, with most regional markets closed for holidays, while US futures edged lower after the S&P 500 ended last week above 5,000.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.4 percent to 7,614.90 and the SENSEX in India shed 0.7 percent to 71,129.07.
Thailand’s SET gained less than 0.1 percent and in Jakarta, the benchmark gained 0.8 percent ahead of an election to be held tomorrow.
With Chinese markets closed for the week for the Lunar New Year holiday, there was a dearth of market moving news. Tokyo’s markets were also shut yesterday, for the National Foundation Day holiday, while Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were all closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Europe’s main stock markets rose at the start of trading yesterday, as investors awaited key economic data releases due this week with the annual earnings seasons nearing an end.
This week is to bring an important update from the US on consumer inflation expectations. Japan is due on Thursday to announce its GDP growth for the final quarter of last year.
The US price data might 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 may consider interest rate cuts in the coming months,” SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said in a commentary.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent, 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.
Profits have mostly been better than expected for the big companies in the S&P 500 this reporting season, which is roughly two-thirds finished.
That has burnished optimism on Wall Street, but contrarians say it may have gone too far and carried stocks to too-expensive heights.
In other trading yesterday, US benchmark crude oil lost US$0.33 to US$76.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained US$0.62 on Friday.
Brent crude, the international standard, lost US$0.33 to US$81.86 per barrel.
The US dollar fell to ￥149.13 from ￥149.28. The euro rose to US$1.0797 from US$1.0784.
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