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the nikkei index spearheads declines in asian markets as the rally pauses while south korea surpasses first quarter gdp expectations 64

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The Nikkei index spearheads declines in Asian markets as the rally pauses, while South Korea surpasses first-quarter GDP expectations

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Leo Gonzalez

April 26, 2024 - 01:30 am

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Asia-Pacific markets took a pause following two consecutive days of gains, reflecting movements on Wall Street ahead of the release of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures from the U.S. scheduled for Thursday.

Market Movements:

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 initially declined by 2.16%, leading losses in the region, before partially recovering to close at 37,628.48. The Topix index also fell by 1.74%, closing at 2,663.53. Meanwhile, the yen remained firm, trading above the 155 mark against the U.S. dollar at 155.63.
  • The Bank of Japan commenced its monetary policy meeting amid concerns about yen weakness, with the currency reaching a fresh 34-year low against the dollar.
  • South Korea reported first-quarter GDP growth of 3.4% year-on-year, marking the highest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2021.

Regional Index Performance:

  • South Korea’s Kospi index slipped by 1.76%, closing at 2,628.62, while the small cap Kosdaq fell by 1.04% to 853.26.
  • Chinese indexes, however, defied the downtrend, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rising by 0.39%, and China’s CSI 300 advancing by 0.25% to close at 3,530.28.
  • Markets in Australia and New Zealand remained closed for a public holiday.

U.S. Market Recap:

  • In the U.S., all three major indexes experienced limited movement as concerns about rising interest rates offset the positive sentiment from strong corporate earnings.
  • Treasury yields increased, putting pressure on stocks, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield surpassing 4.67% at session highs, while the 2-year note rate exceeded 4.95%.
  • The S&P 500 managed a slight gain of 0.02%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite edged up by 0.1%.

Additional Insights:

  • Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped by 2.1%, while the broader Topix index fell by 1.64%, continuing its decline from a record high reached in late March.
  • Investors are awaiting the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision on Friday, particularly focusing on its inflation outlook amid a weakening yen, higher oil prices, and robust wage growth.
  • The yen fell below 155 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, reaching a new 34-year low.