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Asian Markets Mixed After Wall Street Rally Pauses; The Kospi in South Korea reaches its highest level in 2 years

The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, February 16, 2024. Kosuke Okahara/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Tuesday as the U.S. market took a breather after a rally sparked by optimism over the Federal Reserve’s interest rate direction at its latest meeting.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, noted that stocks have become expensive, with the S&P now trading at a 33% premium to its average price-to-earnings ratio over the past 20 years.

“We’re coming off a post-FOMC summit,” he told CNBC, referring to the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting last week. “The market is becoming increasingly vulnerable to a market decline or price decline.”

Investors in Asia are also awaiting economic data from Southeast Asia, including Singapore’s manufacturing output and Thailand’s trade balance. Japan’s services producer price index for February stood at 2.1%.

from Japan Nikkei 225 was opened flat, while the broader Topix edged down 0.07%.

South Korea Kospi added 1.14% to reach its highest level since February 2022. The small-cap Kosdaq edged up 0.18%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 fell 0.2%, after nearly reaching its all-time high on Monday.

Hong Kong Hang Seng Index futures stood at 16,497, indicating a slightly stronger open than the HSI’s close of 16,473.64.

Overnight, in the United States, the three main indices lost ground, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.41% and the S&P500 down 0.31%, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.27%.

— CNBC’s Lisa Kailai Han and Pia Singh contributed to this report

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