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U.S. stocks closed lower on Firday on mixed U.S. economic data. The U.S. revised GDP grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter, lower than the previous estimated growth of 2.6%. Analysts had expected U.S. GDP to rise 2.1%. The Chicago purchasing managers' index declined to 45.8 in February from 59.4 in January, missing expectations for a fall to 58.4. That was the lowest level since July 2009. The final University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index was 95.4 in February, beating expectations for a decline to 94.2, down from the preliminary estimate of 98.2. The S&P 500 closed -0.30% with a final quote of 2,104.50 points. The DOW JONES index declined by -0.45% closing at 18,132.70 points. Despite Friday's losses U.S. indices ended the month near record highs and posted the biggest monthly gains since October 2011.
Chinese stocks traded higher after the Peoples Bank of China cut benchmark interest rates for the second time in three months by a quarter percentage point to 5.35% to spur economic growth and ward of deflation. The HSBC Manufacturing PMI in Asia's biggest economy further expanded into positive territory and rose to 50.7 compared to 50.1 in the previous month. Analysts expected the index to remain at 50.1 points. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading +0.12% at 24,853.19 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,336.14 points +0.78%.
The Nikkei continues extending its 15-year high on Monday on a weaker Japanese yen and the rate cut of the PBoC. The Nikkei closed +0.15% with a final quote of 18,826.88 points. Data on the Japanese Manufacturing PMI for February came in at 51.6, better than the expected 51.5 and the previous reading of 51.1 points.
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