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Asia Pacific stocks mostly higher


Nikkei 225 added 0.9%, the ASX 200 was down 0.26%, while Hang Seng Index was up 0.35%

Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Monday morning. However, Chinese data signalled a further slowdown in the country’s economic recovery, and the high probability of U.S. Federal Reserve interest-rate increases also weighed on investor sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.9% by 2:11 AM GMT. December’s industrial production contracted 1% month-on-month, while retail sales grew 1.4% year-on-year.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was down 0.26%, with private sector credit growing 0.8% month-on-month in December.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.35%. Chinese and South Korean markets are closed for a holiday.

Chinese data released on Sunday showed that the manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) was 50.1, and the non-manufacturing PMI was 51.1, in January. Both indexes were above the 50-mark indicating growth, but manufacturing output fell, and consumer spending was hit by COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

The Fed’s turn towards a more hawkish policy in its latest policy decision handed down during the previous week, alongside uneven corporate earnings, contributed to the recent market volatility.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that a 50 basis-point interest rate hike, or hikes at each policy meeting in 2022, is possible. But he added three quarter-point hikes starting March 2022 is the most likely scenario. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak later in the day.

Policy decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England are due on Thursday, while the Reserve Bank of Australia hands down its policy decision on Tuesday.

Companies including Alphabet Inc., Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Ford Motor Co ., Meta Platforms Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Sony Group Corp., Spotify Technology SA, and UBS Group AG will also release their earnings throughout the week.

U.S. data including the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing PMI, is due on Thursday.

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