Asian markets mostly lower on profit-taking after tech surge

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly lower Monday (Feb 26), although Tokyo's key Nikkei index hit fresh all-time highs after two of the three main US indices closed at records.

But investors were turning to profit-taking as last week's mega market rally -- fuelled 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-per cent 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 per cent, pushing further past the December 1989 record it smashed on Friday.

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

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 per cent and Seoul also fell 0.5 per cent. Bangkok, Jakarta and Wellington were lower, while Sydney was flat. Taipei gained 0.1 per cent.

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. - AFP

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Asian , equities , Feb 26 , opening


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