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Sunday, February 5, 2023

World Shares Up, Many Asia Markets Closed For Lunar New Year

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BANGKOK, Jan 23 (AP): Shares were higher Monday in Europe and in Asia, where most markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

 

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Germany’s DAX edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 15,058.49 while the CAC 40 in Paris also gained 0.1 per cent to 7,002.30. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 per cent to 7,786.30. The future for the S&P 500 lost less than 0.1 per cent while the future for the Dow industrials was unchanged.

 

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 1.3 per cent to 26,906.04 as investors shrugged off finance minister Shunichi Suzuki’s comments that Japan is facing an “unprecedentedly severe” financial situation after spending heavily to counter the pandemic and other troubles.

 

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“Finances are the cornerstone of a country’s trust,” Suzuki told lawmakers in parliament. “We must secure fiscal space under normal circumstances to safeguard trust in Japan and people’s livelihoods in times of crisis.”

 

Japan’s national debt, already more than twice its gross domestic product, has grown further as the government has failed for a decade to attain its targets for balancing the budget.

Elsewhere in Asia, the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 7,457.30. In India, the Sensex climbed 0.6 per cent to 60,994.76. Bangkok’s SET index was flat. Markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen are shut for the whole week

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On Friday, a rally for tech stocks that countered worries about the weakening US economy helped push Wall Street benchmarks higher.

But, adjusting to a variety of factors, “Investors have become somewhat wary about the ongoing weakness in the economic data, and it is clear that they are no longer treating the bad news like good news,” Naeem Aslam of Avatrade.com said in a commentary.

 

“So going into this week, which is full of firecrackers in terms of economic data and earnings, the focus will be if we are going to see the US equity markets continue to march higher,” Aslam said.

In other trading Monday, US benchmark crude oil gave up 9 cents to USD 81.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained USD 1.03 to USD 81.64 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the price benchmark for international trading, declined 17 cents to USD 87.46 per barrel.

The US dollar rose to 129.65 Japanese yen from 129.59 yen. The euro was trading at USD 1.0905, up from USD 1.0868.

 

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 1.9 per cent to 3,972.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1 per cent to 33,375.49. The Nasdaq added 2.7 per cent to close at 11,140.43.

Small company stocks also notched solid gains. The Russell 2000 index advanced 1.7 per cent to finish at 1,867.34.

Despite the gains, the benchmark index still ended with its first weekly loss in the last three.

Technology and communication services stocks powered much of the gains as investors cheered another big quarterly surge in Netflix’s subscribers.

 

Gains for tech-oriented stocks accounted for a big share of the S&P 500’s rally Friday. Google’s parent company, Alphabet said it was cutting costs by laying off 12,000 workers. Its shares jumped 5.3 per cent.

Netflix reported a surge in its number of subscribers and saw its shares leap 8.5 per cent.

Worries that the economy may not be able to avoid a scarring recession overhang the markets, though data showing inflation is cooling suggest the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes last year have begun to make their way through the system.

 

On Friday, Fed Gov. Christopher Waller said he favours just a quarter-point hike on February 1, when the central bank gives its next interest rate policy update. Waller also said that rates are already high enough to be slowing the economy.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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