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TOKYO – Asian shares were trading mixed on Monday, as investors awaited further indications the Federal Reserve might begin cutting interest rates.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.7% to 40,619.40, as investors sold shares to lock in profits after the benchmark recently hit record highs.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.5% to 16,584.22, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.4% to 3,061.36.

The Chinese yuan, or renminbi, fell to a four-month low of 7.2282 to the U.S. dollar.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% to 7,813.70. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5% to 2,735.46.

A top Japanese finance official expressed reservations about the recent surge in the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen, fueling speculation about possible intervention in the market. The dollar has risen to nearly 152 yen, a jump from slightly above 130 yen a year ago. It was trading at 151.13 yen on Monday, up from 151.41 yen. The euro cost $1.0814, up from $1.0810.

The Bank of Japan raised a key interest rate for the first time in 17 years last week, to barely above zero from below zero, or negative interest rates. That means borrowing rates in Japan still remain below those of the U.S. and many other nations.

“The recent Bank of Japan meeting added another layer of complexity to the dollar’s trajectory. Despite the BOJ’s decision to hike rates, cautious communication failed to stimulate demand for the Japanese yen,” said Luca Santos, currency analyst ACY Securities.

On Friday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% from an all-time high to close at 5,234.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% to 39,475.90 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2% to 16,428.82, adding to its record.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields pulled back. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.21% from 4.27% late Thursday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has indicated it may deliver three cuts to interest rates this year, as long as inflation keeps cooling. The Fed’s main interest rate is at its highest level since 2001.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 52 cents to $81.15 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 52 cents to $85.35 a barrel.

  • Published On Mar 25, 2024 at 11:43 AM IST

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