Stocks in Asia on Friday and Lunar New Year

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Stocks and an important day

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays for millions of people across Asia and beyond. Usually, millions of people celebrate Lunar New Year with their families. Many of them travel to their home provinces to spend time with their loved ones. Interestingly, stocks in Australia, as well as Japan, declined on Friday as many major markets in the region were closed for the start of the Lunar New Year Holiday.

People should take into account that, the major indexes in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore were closed on February 12.

Importantly, in Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 fell 0.63% to 6,806.70, with the financials, energy, and materials subindexes struggling for gains among others. Interestingly, the shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks declined on Friday. 

Shares of ANZ fell 0.28% and Commonwealth Bank dropped 0.21%. Moreover, shares of Westpac fell 0.67%, and the National Bank of Australia declined 0.48%.

It is worth noting that, the Australian state of Victoria is set to enter a five-day lockdown beginning at 11:59 p.m. local time until February 17. It means all nonessential retail outlets will close while cafes and restaurants will only provide takeaway options. That decision comes after authorities detected five new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours. Thus, the state’s total number of active cases increased from 14 to 19. 

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.14% 29,520.07. At the same time, the Topix index added 0.16% to 1,933.88.

U.S. stocks on February 11 

Let’s have a look at the U.S. stocks as well. On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended another day near the flatline as the market’s strong momentum to begin February started to lose steam. 

Interestingly, the blue-chip benchmark dropped just 7.1 points from a record high to 31,430.70. However, the S&P 500 added 0.2% to eke out a record closing high of 3,916.38. Also, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.4% to 14,025.77, also a fresh record. 

It is worth noting that energy was the worst-performing sector, dropping more than 1%, while the strength in technology supported the broader market. 

Moreover, investors closely monitored the situation regarding jobless claims. Importantly, first-time claims for unemployment insurance surpassed expectations, even amid declining Covid-19 cases. The new administration should work with lawmakers to reach a deal in the coming weeks. Millions of people are struggling to cope with financial problems. 

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