China shares rise, Asia on profit-taking

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    TOKYO/WASHINGTON – Chinese shares rose on Thursday during the first trading session after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday amid renewed optimism for an acceleration in global growth, but other Asian markets were hit by profit-taking.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.15 percent but was still close to an all-time high. Shares in China rose 0.77 percent. Australian stocks erased gains to trade 0.05 percent lower, while Japan’s Nikkei was unchanged.

    E-mini futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.04 percent.

    Yields on two-year Treasuries hit a record low and the 10-year yield extended a pullback from a one-year high as a bond market sell-off started to fade.

    Strong US retail sales, new signs the Federal Reserve will maintain its accommodative stance, and an ongoing push for further US stimulus have bolstered economic optimism, but some analysts remain cautious because new strains of the coronavirus continue to emerge.

    “With an even larger stimulus package likely to be passed by Congress before the end of March, the US economic recovery could gain more momentum in 2021,” wrote Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency analyst Carol Kong.

    “Despite the recent positive vaccine developments, the global economic outlook remains uncertain partly because of the spreading virus variants.”

    On Wall Street, technology stocks fell, driving down the Nasdaq while other companies rose on broader economic optimism. – Reuters