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U.S. stocks booked losses on Thursday - declining for the fourth day but well above session lows as better-than-expected U.S. economic data on Initial Jobless Claims and service PMI supported the markets. Concerns over the situation in Yemen weighed on markets. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebel positions in Yemen. The S&P 500 closed -0.61% with a final quote of 2,091.50 points. The DOW JONES index lost -0.58%, closing at 18,011.14 points.
Today a set of important U.S. data including the GDP and the Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be in the focus. FED Chair Janet Yellen and FED Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer are scheduled to speak today at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Conference.
Chinese stocks were trading mixed again. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading lower slightly down -0.12% at 24,467.24 points. China's Shanghai Composite rose to 3,691.95 points closing +0.27%.
The Nikkei shed early gains and closed lower mainly on profit-taking before the end of the 1st quarter and after the recent rally. Exporter shares declined on a stronger Japanese yen. The index closed -0.95% with a final quote of 19,285.63 points - a one week-low. Yesterday a set of mixed data was reported.
Household spending declined -2.9%, less than the expected reading of -3.1%. The Japanese Unemployment Rate for February declined from a previous reading of 3.6% to 3.2%, below the estimated 3.5%. The Tokyo Consumer Price Index for March remained unchanged at +2.3%. Excluding fresh food the reading was unchanged at +2.2%. The National Consumer Price Index grew less at a pace of +2.2% compared to +2.4% a year earlier. Ex-fresh food the National CPI rose +2.0%, below expectations of an increase of +2.1%. Retail Sales in Japan declined by -1.8% in February, less than the -2.0% a year ago but above estimates on a decrease by -1.4%.
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