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© Reuters.– Most Asian stocks retreated on Monday as persistent concerns over higher-for-longer interest rates sparked some profit-taking in technology stocks, while Japanese markets scaled new record peaks ahead of key inflation data.

Tech stocks were hit with a large degree of profit-taking after a strong rally over the past week, as optimism over artificial intelligence now appeared to be waning. A muted session on Wall Street on Friday also provided middling cues, with U.S. stock futures moving little on Monday after reaching record highs.

Anticipation of a string of key economic readings this week, particularly more cues on U.S. inflation and interest rates, also kept risk appetite largely muted.

Chinese shares retreat as rebound rally stalls; PMIs awaited 

China’s and SSEC indexes fell 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, on Monday, retreating from two and three-month highs as a recent rebound rally now appeared to be running out of steam.

Hong Kong’s index fell 0.6%, also retreating from a near three-month high.

Beijing had rolled out a string of monetary stimulus measures, while also tightening its regulatory hold on equity markets to help shore up investor confidence. The move had yielded some results, with China’s benchmark indexes rallying sharply from multi-year lows through most of February.

But Chinese markets face a new test this week, from key data for February, due on Friday. The reading is expected to offer more cues on an economic recovery in Asia’s largest economy.

Broader Asian stocks retreated as a tech rally cooled. South Korea’s shed 0.5%, while Australia’s index traded sideways.

Futures for India’s index pointed to a mildly weak open, although the index remained in sight of record highs hit in the prior session. 

Japanese stocks hit record highs, CPI inflation data on tap 

Japanese stocks were key outliers in Asia on Monday, extending recent gains to hit record highs.

The rose as much as 0.7% to a record high of 49,420.0 points, while the broader index added 0.8% and was at a record high of 2,686.27 points.

Gains in Japan held some elements of catch-up trade, after local markets were closed for a long weekend. But Monday’s gains were also an extension of a long-running rally in Japanese stocks, on AI-driven strength in local tech and chipmaking stocks, as well as expectations that the Bank of Japan will remain ultra-dovish for longer.

inflation data due on Tuesday is expected to show inflation falling within the BOJ’s 2% annual target, giving the central bank even less impetus to tighten policy aggressively.

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