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Asian Markets Fluctuate Amid Speculation on Fed Interest Rate Cuts

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Asian markets experienced fluctuations on Monday as traders assessed the likelihood of the Federal Reserve implementing interest rate cuts this year, following a robust US jobs report that tempered expectations for an immediate move in June.

Friday saw a rally in Wall Street’s three main indexes after news of 303,000 new jobs created in the United States for March. Investors focused on the positive implications for the economy rather than the potential effects on monetary policy.

However, analysts cautioned that the strong figures, which also indicated a decline in unemployment and sustained wage growth, could deter the Fed from implementing the three anticipated rate cuts in 2024, as previously indicated.

Market participants now await the release of minutes from the central bank’s recent meeting, along with the latest consumer price index (CPI) reading.

Saxo’s Redmond Wong noted that the CPI figures would be critical in determining whether the recent inflation surge is a lasting trend, referring to earlier-than-expected inflation figures at the beginning of the year.

Marc Chandler of Bannockburn Global Forex cautioned that there are fewer reasons to discount the employment data, as the economy continues to outpace the Fed’s long-term non-inflation growth pace.

There is increasing speculation that the Fed may not be able to execute the projected three rate cuts this year. Some suggest that if economic data remains robust, officials may face pressure to delay rate adjustments until 2025.

Asian investors struggled for direction on a mixed day, with Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, and Taipei seeing gains, while Shanghai, Singapore, Manila, and Wellington registered declines.

Additionally, geopolitical developments are being closely monitored, with talks in Cairo aimed at brokering a truce between Israel and Hamas showing progress, as reported by state-linked Egyptian outlet Al-Qahera.

However, Israel’s announcement of ongoing military preparations in Gaza’s Rafah city and Iran’s threats of retaliation against Israel following an attack on its embassy in Damascus contribute to ongoing tensions in the region.

Oil prices dipped on Monday amidst hopes for a ceasefire, but concerns about supply disruptions in the event of a broader conflict between Israel and Iran continue to support prices near five-month highs.

Gold prices retreated after reaching a new record on Friday, buoyed by expectations of rate cuts and geopolitical uncertainties.

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Weekly U.S. Stock Market Reports Diverse Performance

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Reviewing the U.S. Stock Markets, the Nasdaq Composite, recorded a decent hike of 555 points, reaching a closing value of 17,688 points by the end of the week. Similarly, the S&P 500 index showed a positive trend, gaining 85 point to settle at 5,431 points. Meanwhile, DJIA Index experienced a notable drop, losing 209 points during the week and concluding at 38,589 points after a week of gaining.

In contrast, Russell 3000 Index saw a gain in week performance, with a slight hike of 40 points to reach 3,077 points by the end of the week.

Moving to Russell 2000 Index, demonstrated a notable drop of 20 point, ending the week at 2,006 points.

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Weekly European Stocks Shows Negative Result

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In the Outgoing week, the European stock market displayed a massive losing performance.

Here is the data on the weekly performance of the European Stock Market, The STOXX Europe 600 index, which is considered a leading benchmark for the European market and covers approximately 90 percent of the market capitalization across 17 countries, reported a drop of 12.5 points to close at 511.05.

The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100, one of the most widely followed indices in Europe, also showed a significant drop, losing 99 points or finishing the session at 8,146.

In Germany, the DAX 30 index, lost by 555 points to reach 18,002, while France’s CAC 498 decreased by 9 points to stop at 7,503 at the end of the trading day.

Italy’s FTSE MIB, which covers the top 40 stocks traded on the Milan Stock Exchange, decreased by 1,995 points to 32,665. However, Spain’s IBEX 35, added by 412 points, to close at 10,992.

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South Asian Stocks Reports Gaining Performance in Recent Week

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A review of South Asian stock markets shows that India’s Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) index BSE Sensex has added 299 points during the week. At the end of the week, the index stood at 76,992 points. On the other hand, the Nifty-50 index of the country’s National Stock Exchange gained by 175 points last week. At the end of the week, the index stood at 23,465 points.

Pakistan Stock Exchange Index ‘KSE 100’, shed 2,926 points last week. After a week of losing, the index settled at 76,742 points.

On the other hand, The Sri Lankan stock market index adds, and the Colombo Stock Exchange index ‘ASPI’ increased by 208 points in a week. After a week the index settled at 12,314 points.

Bhutan’s stock market index ‘BSI’ added 68 points hence the index stood at 1,515 points throughout the whole week. Nepal’s ‘NEPSE’ gain 35 points, therefore the index stands at 2,112 points.

Hence Dhaka Stock Exchange: The benchmark index ‘DSEX’ dropped by 119.51 points or 2.28 percent, in the outgoing week. At the end of the week, the index stands at 5,117 points.

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