Asia stocks off to slow start in earnings-rich week
Asian shares started cautiously on Monday in a week packed with economic data and central bank meetings, along with earnings from the tech giants that have kept the S&P 500 afloat so far this year.
Early action was sluggish in the wake of Friday’s surprisingly strong surveys of business activity which reinforced the case for higher interest rates.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) eased 0.4%, while Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) nudged up 0.3%. Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) fell 0.4%.
Over in Australia, there was some weakness in mining stocks after Chile moved to boost state control over its lithium industry, which has the world’s largest reserves of the battery metal.
EUROSTOXX 50 futures and FTSE futures were both little changed. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures eased 0.2% ahead of a busy week of earnings.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) alone have accounted for nearly half of the S&P 500’s gains through March, so there is much riding on their outlooks.
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