U.S. stock markets are closed today due to President's Day. European markets were choppy Monday, with attention this week set to be on the publication of Federal Reserve meeting notes. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index opened 0.2% higher before moving between slight losses and gains through the morning. It was up 0.2% at 2 p.m. London time. Mining stocks were the most upbeat, adding 1.6%, while household goods fell 0.55% and tech and retail stocks both fell 0.4%. Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Monday, as investors look ahead to a batch of economic data later in the week, including minutes for the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The People’s Bank of China left its 1-year and 5-year prime loan rates unchanged, widely in line with expectations. The CSI 300, which tracks stocks of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose to close 2.45% higher, leading gains in the region. The Shenzhen Component gained 2.03% to close at 11,954.13, while the Shanghai Composite rose 2.06% to end the day at 3,290.34. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.85% in its final hour of trade, and the Hang Seng Tech index rose 1.32%. In South Korea, the Kospi ended the day marginally higher at 2,453.15, while defense stocks traded mixed after North Korea fired missiles towards its eastern waters. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was fractionally higher at 27,531.94, with the Topix up 0.39% to close at 1,999.71 as investors looked ahead to the nominated Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda’s appearance in parliament slated for Friday. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed marginally higher at 7,351.5 as the minutes for Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting is scheduled to be released Tuesday. Oil prices were little changed in early Asian trade on Monday, after settling down $2 a barrel on Friday, as rising supplies in the United States and forecasts of more interest rate hikes cooled optimism over China’s demand recovery. Brent crude slid 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $82.91 a barrel by 0051 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March, which expires on Tuesday, was at $76.40 a barrel, up 6 cents. The more active April contract fell 9 cents to $76.46. Gold prices were stuck in a tight range on Monday, as bets of more interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve dimmed the outlook for non-yielding bullion and boosted the dollar. Spot gold was little changed at $1,842.40 per ounce, as of 0347 GMT, after falling to its lowest since late December in the previous session. U.S. gold futures edged up 0.1% to $1,851.30.
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