Asian stocks dip ahead of more China cues; Nikkei coasts past 40,000

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Asian stocks dip ahead of more China cues; Nikkei coasts past 40,000
Credit: © Reuters.

Investing.com-- Most Asian stocks fell slightly on Monday, weighed chiefly by caution ahead of China’s national congress for 2024, although a sustained rally in technology stocks saw Japanese markets make new highs.

Regional markets mostly shrugged off a positive lead-in from Wall Street, which clocked record highs on Friday. U.S. stock futures were also muted in Asian trade on Monday, with a testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and key nonfarm payrolls data spurring caution this week. 

Chinese stocks fall ahead of 2024 national congress 

But the biggest point of focus for Asian markets was the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, which opens on Tuesday and is largely set to determine the path of Asia’s largest economy in the coming year. 

While optimism over more policy support helped Chinese shares rebound from five-year lows through February, their rally now appeared to be running out of steam.

China’s blue-chip Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index fell 0.2% on Monday, while the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.3%.

Losses in mainland stocks dragged Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.5%.

Recent official data still painted a bleak picture of the Chinese economy, while calls for liquidating the country’s biggest property developer, Country Garden Holdings Company Ltd (HK: 2007 ), pointed to more trouble for the property market. 

Japanese stocks an exception as Nikkei coasts past 40,000 

Japanese stocks continued to vastly outpace their regional peers, with the Nikkei 225 rising 0.7% to a new record high of 40,356.0 points. 

The broader TOPIX index rose 0.2% and also hit a record high.

The Nikkei’s crossing of the 40,000 points saw the index clear a major psychological hurdle-  a trend that could attract more gains in the near-term.

Technology stocks were the biggest boost to the Nikkei, as persistent hype over artificial intelligence drove stellar gains in their U.S. peers. 

Signs of resilience in the Japanese economy and milder inflation also helped extend the Nikkei’s rally. Focus this week is on key inflation data from Tokyo , which usually acts as a bellwether for the broader Japanese economy. 

Most other Asian markets trended lower on Monday. South Korea’s KOSPI was an exception, rallying 1% in catch-up trade as technology stocks rose.

Australia’s ASX 200 was flat after reaching record highs last week. Key Australian GDP data is also on tap this week. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a muted open, after the index raced to record highs last week on persistent optimism over India’s fast-growing economy.

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