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Asian Markets Started the Week on a Mixed Note

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Economic calendar

6:00 AM EST – Eurozone’s trade balance (January)

9:40 AM EST – FOMC member Bostic speaks

2:00 PM EST – European Central Bank executive board member Mersch speaks

7:00 PM EST – Japan’s Reuters Tankan Index

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China

The Shanghai Composite Index started last week on a stronger note but lost strength as the week progressed. Carrying forward the weakness, the Shanghai Composite Index opened lower on Monday, regained strength, and ended the day with profits.

Market sentiment

The market sentiment in China’s markets was weak last week amid concerns about a US-led trade war, political uncertainty in the US, and domestic factors like warnings from regulators about market risk. The market sentiment was weak when the market opened amid increased caution in global markets. However, the market sentiment improved in the early trading hours on Monday after Beijing elected a key economic team. The market responded positively after Yi Gang, vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, was appointed as the new central bank chief. The market was also supported by strength in the healthcare sector. Weakness in property firms limited the market gains.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.29% and closed the day at 3,279.25 on March 19. The SPDR S&P China (GXC) gained 0.09% on March 16.

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Hong Kong

After gaining for two consecutive trading weeks, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index opened lower on Monday. However, the Hang Seng Index regained strength following a strong recovery in China while volatility stayed high. The expectation of strong corporate earnings releases this week also supported the Hang Seng Index. The market is looking forward to the release of Hong Kong’s consumer price index data. The data are scheduled to be released on March 20.

On March 19, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.11% and closed the day at 31,537. The iShares MSCI Hong Kong (EWH) fell 0.19% on Friday.

Japan

Japan’s Nikkei Index pulled back at the end of last week and started this week on a weaker note. The Nikkei Index opened lower on Monday and declined to ten-day low price levels amid increased global caution ahead of the Fed’s interest rate decision and domestic political jitters. The higher yen also weighed on the Nikkei Index on Monday.

The Nikkei Index fell 1.0% on March 19 and closed the day at 21,451.50. The iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ) fell 0.44% on Friday.

Next, we’ll discuss how European markets performed in the early hours on March 19.

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