US stocks closed mixed on Friday, as recent data brought down expectations for Fed interest rate cuts. The S&P 500 added 0.1% and the Dow Jones marked an 8-day winning streak, advancing 124 points, while the Nasdaq ended marginally lower. Michigan consumer sentiment fell to a 6-month low driven by a sharp uptick in year-ahead inflation expectations. This added up to fresh comments from a Fed official advocating a cautious stance on lowering interest rates, as they weigh surprisingly strong inflation data this year. Among megacap stocks, Nvidia gained 1.3% while Tesla dropped by 2%. Novavax shares soared 98% after the vaccine maker announced a multi-billion dollar deal with Sanofi to co-commercialize its Covid vaccine starting next year. Zeekr surged 34.5% above its initial public offering price of $21 a share, marking a strong debut for the Chinese electric vehicle company. On the week, the S&P 500 rose 1.3%, the Dow Jones added 1.9%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.5%

The DAX gained 0.5% to close at a record-high 18,773 on Friday, extending its weekly gain to 4.3%, as investors remained optimistic that major central banks will soon start cutting interest rates. Minutes from the ECB’s latest meeting aligned with the current view that the central bank is due to cut rates in June, as its Governing Cycle agreed that inflation is converging to its target at a quicker pace. Positive corporate developments also buoyed sentiment. Siemens shares jumped by 2.3% to close at an all-time high and be among the heavyweight leaders. Also, Infineon added 3% to extend its rally this week, soaring by 20% since last Friday as markets continued to assess the company’s corporate results. Also, Zalando added 3.2% following an upgrade by Berenberg, while Munich Re added 3% amid continued support from its financial report posted this week.

The BSE index added 260 points, or 0.4%, to settle at 72,664.5 on Friday, recovering from a three-day losing streak, mirroring its global peers. This uptick was fueled by increasing confidence in the US Federal Reserve's decision to cut interest rates. Among individual stocks, Power Grid, NTPC, JSW Steel, Asian Paints, ITC, Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever and Tata Motors were the biggest gainers. On the other hand, Tata Consultancy Services, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Infosys, Wipro, Mahindra & Mahindra and HDFC Bank recorded the biggest declines. For the week, the BSE lost about 1.6%, its biggest weekly drop since mid-March, as concerns over the outcome of ongoing national elections and selling by foreign investors weighed.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.41% to close at 38,229 while the broader Topix Index gained 0.54% to 2,728 on Friday, with Japanese shares heading toward one-month highs and taking cues from a strong lead on Wall Street as a jump in US weekly unemployment claims reinforced bets for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts. Domestically, data showed that household spending in Japan fell 1.2% year-on-year in March, milder than the 2.4% decline expected by analysts. Notable gains were seen from index heavyweights such as Mitsubishi UFJ (0.6%), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (3.1%), Kawasaki Kisen (6.2%), Nintendo (3.2%) and Sumitomo Mitsui (1%). In corporate news, Daikin Industries jumped 8.2% as the company’s executive chairman Noriyuki Inoue is set to retire, with senior managing executive officer Naofumi Takenaka promoted to replace him.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.35% to close at 7,749 on Friday, recouping some losses from the previous session and taking cues from a strong lead on Wall Street as a jump in US weekly unemployment claims reinforced bets for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts. Firmer commodity prices also helped the recourse-heavy bourse as a pullback in the dollar and Treasury yields lifted riskier assets. Energy and mining stocks led the charge, with gains from Woodside Energy (2.1%), Santos (1.8%), Newmont Corp (2%), Northern Star Resources (0.8%) and South32 (0.8%). Heavyweight bank stocks also rebounded from the previous day’s selloff amid concerns about regulatory tightening on loan approvals and narrowing profit margins for the sector. Technology and consumer-related stocks advanced as well. The benchmark index advanced 1.6% this week for its third consecutive weekly gain.

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