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U.S. markets were closed yesterday. On Friday U.S. indices added gains, ending the second consecutive week with a plus with oil above USD60 and strong fourth quarter earnings and despite U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly worsened in February.
On Friday the DOW JONES index added +0.26% closing at 18,019.35 points, above the psychologically important level of 18,000. The S&P 500 closed higher with a final quote of 2,096.99, +0.41%, hitting a record high.
Today U.S. futures point to a lower open as Greece worries weigh on the markets. Talks between Greece and the Eurozone's finance ministers broke down yesterday as Athens did not accept a proposal for a six-month extension of its bailout. Now the Greek government has until Friday to request the extension. If Greece chooses not to do so the bailout will expire at the end of February.
Chinese shares added gains on Tuesday in the wake of the Chinese New Year where volumes are expected to remain low. Speculations on further monetary easing supported the markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading +0.24% at 24,787.08 points. China's Shanghai Composite closed at 3,247.43 points +0.78%, heading for the longest winning streak since late November last year. Markets were supported by speculations on further monetary stimulus by the Peoples Bank of China to reive growth.
Japanese markets retreated from 8-year highs in today's trading. The Nikkei declined, closing -0.10% with a final quote of 17,987.09 points after Asia's second largest economy exited recession in the final quarter of last year according to data published over the weekend although growth was weaker than expected. Last week insiders said the Bank of Japan sees further monetary easing as counterproductive for now as more stimulus would further hurt the currency. Now all eyes are on BoJ Governor Kuroda's speech scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday.
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