Asian stocks traded mixed on Monday and gold edged down on a firmer dollar as investors looked ahead to key economic data due this week as well as the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting slated to be released Wednesday for directional cues.
Oil prices were little changed after falling around 4 percent last week after the United States reported higher crude and gasoline inventories.
China’s Shanghai Composite index rose half a percent to 3,241 after the country’s central bank kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged for the sixth straight month in February, as widely expected. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.2 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei index was marginally lower as hawkish comments from Fed and ECB officials offset investor optimism over a weakening yen.
Australian markets were little changed as gains in financials offset weakness in the energy sector. Health insurer NIB Holdings plunged 11 percent after its first-half earnings missed estimates. Fuel supplied Ampol gained nearly 2 percent after posting record annual profit.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index was down 1.6 percent ahead of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) interest rate decision due on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Seoul stocks were seeing modest gains despite North Korea firing a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as yields on the 10-year and 2-year U.S. Treasury bonds hit levels not seen since November amid lingering worries about stubbornly high inflation and expectations the Fed will keep raising rates for longer.
The Dow inched up 0.4 percent but notched its third straight week of losses. The S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent.
European stocks came off early lows on Friday but still finished in the red, dragged down by energy and tech stocks.
The pan-European STOXX 600 gave up 0.2 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index both slipped around 0.3 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.1 percent.
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