Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed as China unveils 5% economic growth target for 2024

BEIJING -- Stocks were mixed on Tuesday in Asia after PorcelainThe prime minister said the country's economic growth target this year is around 5%, in line with expectations.

Hong Kong's benchmark index fell while Shanghai rose.

Li Qiang, in his opening speech to China's National People's Congress, also said Beijing would issue 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) in long-term bonds to help close financing gaps, provide support for local governments with financial problems and invest in both advanced technology and social support and education.

Li also said China would expand government-subsidized housing, part of a program aimed at reversing a slowdown in the housing market after a crackdown on over-borrowing caused dozens of developers to default on their debts.

But the government's intention to keep its deficit at 3% of China's GDP disappointed investors who were expecting more aggressive action, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

"The unchanged 3% target fell below expectations and signaled a cautious approach to fiscal policy," he said.

The congress is the biggest political event of the year, although it mainly endorses policies set by top leaders of the ruling Communist Party.

China's economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.2% last year after growth fell to 3% in 2022.

Initial reaction to Li's speech and annual budget report, also released Tuesday, seemed lukewarm. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 2.7% to 16,153.97 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to 3,047.79, barely moving for most of the day.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index finished steady at 40,097.63, just below Monday's record close.

In Seoul, the Kospi sank 0.9% to 2,649.40, while Australia's S&The P/ASX 200 was down 0.2% to 7,724.20.

India's Sensex fell 0.3% while Taiwan's Taiex gained 0.4%.

On Monday, the S.&The P 500 fell 0.1% to 5,130.95, coming off its latest all-time high and its 16th winning week in the last 18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to 38,989.83 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.4% to 16,207.51.

Momentum slowed for U.S. stocks after they roared higher on enthusiasm that inflation appears to be cooling, interest rate cuts could be coming and the U.S. economy has so far shrugged off forecasts. a recession. At the same time, the frenzy around artificial intelligence technology has catapulted some stocks to stratospheric heights.

Super Micro Computer, which sells servers and storage systems used in artificial intelligence and other types of computing, rose another 18.6% on Monday. It has increased almost 1,000% in the last 12 months.

The perfect example of AI mania is Nvidia, whose chips are driving much of the move toward AI. It rose another 3.6% on Monday to bring its year-to-date gain to 72.1% after more than tripling in 2023.

These booms are fueled by rising profits and expectations that tremendous growth will continue, but raise concerns about a possible bubble.

Several events scheduled for this week could disrupt the market.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before a House committee on monetary policy. He has said the Fed's next move will likely be a cut, but he has also said he needs more evidence that inflation is falling decisively toward its 2% target. That was before recent reports showed that inflation at both the consumer and wholesale levels was higher than expected.

A report on Friday will show how the U.S. labor market is faring, with economists predicting a slowdown from January's strong growth.

Several retailers will also offer their latest earnings reports this week. They include Costco Wholesale, Gap and Nordstrom.

Another retailer, Macy's, rose 13.5% after two investment firms raised their bid to buy shares they do not already own.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, Spirit Airlines lost 10.8%. JetBlue Airways is ending its proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked its merger. JetBlue rose 4.3%.

Apple fell 2.5% after the European Union fined it nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service over Spotify and other rivals.

In other trading early Tuesday, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 43 cents to $78.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 35 cents to $82.45 a barrel.

The US dollar fell to 150.49 Japanese yen from 150.53 yen. The euro also fell, to $1.0851 from $1.0856.

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