Asia-Pacific stocks higher, many markets closed for Chinese New Year

Members of the Chinese Youth League perform a lion dance for spectators at Haymarket on January 21, 2023 in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Maree Williams | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Stocks in Asia were higher on Monday, but most markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday and markets in Shanghai were closed for the week.

Tokyo’s Nikkei225 index added 1.1% to 26,852.85 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney rose 0.1% higher to 7,456.90. The gains followed a Friday rally for technology stocks that allayed concerns about the weakening US economy.

In other trades, US benchmark crude oil lost 35 cents to $81.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.03 to $81.64 a barrel on Friday.

Brent roughthe price benchmark for international trade, gave up 40 cents to $87.23 a barrel.

The US dollar fell to 129.14 Japanese Yen from 129.59 yen. The euros rose from $1.0868 to $1.0905.

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On Friday, the S&P 500 increased by 1.9% to 3,972.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1% to 33,375.49. The Nasdaq Added 2.7% to close at 11,140.43.

Small company stocks also posted solid gains. The Russell 2000 Index increased by 1.7% and ended at 1,867.34.

Despite the gains, the benchmark index still ended with its first weekly loss in the last three.

Technology and communications services stocks drove much of the gains as investors welcomed another large quarterly increase in Netflix subscribers.

Gains for tech-focused stocks accounted for much of Friday’s S&P 500 rally. Google’s parent company, Alphabet said it was cutting costs by laying off 12,000 workers. The stock rose 5.3%.

Netflix reported an increase in subscribers and saw its shares rise by 8.5%.

Major indices started the week in the red, largely on concerns that the economy could not avoid a scar recession. Several reports on the economy have come in weaker than expected as the full weight of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes from last year begin to pierce the system.

On Friday, Fed Governor Christopher Waller said he favors just a quarter-point hike on Feb. 1, when the central bank issues its next rate policy update. Waller also said rates are already high enough to slow the economy. The comments could have helped allay concerns about rising interest rates in the market.

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