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China markets rise as upbeat holiday travel data boosts tourism stocks; Hong Kong shares fall

·3 mins

Stock markets in China rose as traders returned from a long holiday on Monday to upbeat travel data, while Hong Kong stocks fell. The CSI 300 added 0.3% as trading resumed following the Lunar New Year holidays that saw consumer spending jump higher than pre-Covid levels, according to official data. Tourism stocks led the gains, jumping 2% shortly after the open. The People’s Bank of China on Sunday held a key policy rate steady as expected. China’s central bank said it was holding the rate unchanged at 2.5% on 500 billion yuan ($69.51 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reportedly told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the United States must lift restrictions on Chinese firms and individuals, and attempts to de-couple from Beijing would only hurt Washington. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8%, while the Hang Seng Tech index shed 2.2% by open. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%, while the broader Topix was flat. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.9%, while the smaller-cap Kosdaq rose 0.3%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 inched 0.2% higher. U.S. markets were closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Wall Street’s main indexes slid Friday after a hot inflation report sparked fears that interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve may not arrive until later than expected this year. The S&P 500 fell 0.48%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.37%, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.82%. Nintendo shares fell on unconfirmed reports of Switch 2’s delayed release. Shares of Japan-based video game company Nintendo dropped more than 6% on unverified reports that its next console’s launch may be delayed to early next year. Nintendo was initially targeting to launch the successor to its Switch console in late 2024. CNBC Pro research has found two funds investing in defensive stocks that are the only exchange-traded funds worldwide that had a positive return every year over the past decade. Equity markets have been having a pretty good year so far, with the S&P 500 benchmark closing above 5,000 for the first time last week. All three major indexes ended Friday in the red, breaking their five-week winning streak. The S&P 500 slid 0.48% to end at 5,005.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 145.13 points, or 0.37%, settling at 38,627.99. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.82% to finish at 15,775.65. Consumer confidence and inflation expectations changed little in the latest University of Michigan survey, as respondents weighed stock market volatility and varying signs on prices. The February sentiment reading came in at 79.6, nudging up just 0.6 points from January and just missing the Dow Jones estimate for 80. On inflation expectations, the one-year outlook inched higher to 3%, up one-tenth of a percentage point on a monthly basis, while the five-year outlook held at 2.9%. Both are above the Federal Reserve’s 2% goal, though continuing to show signs of moderating. “The fact that sentiment lost no ground this month suggests that consumers continue to feel more assured about the economy, confirming the considerable improvements in December and January across various aspects of the economy,” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.