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The Dow Jones closed 386 points higher on Friday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 gained 1.6% and 1.9%, respectively, as Treasury yields eased from their recent highs and investors were less concerned about monetary policy path after Federal Reserve officials' speeches. The sentiment was boosted after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that he still sees the central bank raising rates by another quarter percentage point later this month. The market movement came in tandem with easing Treasury yields, which brought some respite to beaten-down technology and other high-growth stocks. Meanwhile, data showed the US services sector was still growing, even though the Federal Reserve has been trying to cool the economy with an aggressive tightening campaign. For the week, the Dow added 0.9% and the Nasdaq gained 1.3%, while the S&P 500 snapped a three-week decline by rising 0.9%.

European equity markets rose on Friday, with the benchamrk Stoxx 600 up 1% led by auto and mining stocks while oil and gas related shares declined. Domestically, the German DAX advanced 1.6% to 15,596, the highest close since February 2022, and the car manufacturer Volkswagen surged about 10% on a better-than-expected 2023 forecast. The sentiment was boosted by dovish remarks from a Federal Reserve official hinted that the US central bank might stick to its moderate monetary tightening path. At the same time, investors welcomed PMI data showing China's service sector growth accelerated in February following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, while the recovery in Eurozone business activity gathered pace. In other economic news, the bloc's producer price inflation slowed more than forecast in January to a 17-month low, while German export growth beat market expectations. For the week, the continent-wide STOXX 600 climbed 1.5% and the German DAX surged 2.5%.

The Shanghai Composite rose 0.54% to close at an almost eight-month high of 3,328 while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.02% to 11,852 on Friday, as investors braced for the annual National Party Congress which kicks off this weekend, where authorities could communicate economic targets and policy plans. Investors also digested data showing China’s services sector expanded sharply in February as a result of the country’s exit from strict Covid curbs. Mainland stocks traded mixed on Friday, with gains from heavyweight firms such as China United Network (2%), Talkweb Information (6.8%) and China State Construction (3.7%). Meanwhile, losses were seen from Dawning Information Industry (-3.5%), TRS Information (-1.9%) and ZTE Corp (-1.9%). The Shanghai and Shenzhen indexes finished the week 1.87% and 0.55% higher, respectively.

The BSE Sensex closed 900 points higher at 59,810 on Friday, erasing recent losses to close the week 0.6% higher, supported by a broad-based rally as bond yields softened and the rupee rebounded from recent lows. Sentiment was further boosted after US firm GQG Partners placed a $1.87 billion investment in Adani conglomerate assets, raising hopes that the group can still raise capital. The move especially supported banks traded in Mumbai due to their large ownership of Adani corporate bonds, which plummeted in value after a report from Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group of accounting fraud in late January. The State Bank of India rallied 5%, while IndusInd Bank and HDFC Bank both gained between 1.7% and 2.2%. Sentiment was also supported by strong PMI results, showing that services activity in India grew the most in 12 years in February.

The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 1.56% to close at 27,927 while the broader Topix Index jumped 1.25% to 2,020 on Friday, hitting their highest levels in at least two months and tracking gains on Wall Street overnight as Atlanta Fed Bank President Raphael Bostic backed smaller 25 basis point rate increases and said the central bank could be in a position to pause rate hikes sometime this summer. Investors also digested data showing the unemployment rate in Japan edged down to 2.4% in January, while the country’s services sector posted strong growth in February. All sectors advanced on Friday, with notable gains from index heavyweights such as Fast Retailing (3.9%), Mitsubishi UFJ (1.5%), Nippon Steel (1%), Toyota Motor (1.1%) and Sony Group (1.5%). The Nikkei and Topix indexes finished the week 1.73% and 1.57% higher, respectively.

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