Asian stocks were mixed today (February 24th) amid uncertainty in Greece, as investors await a testimony from US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen. Her assessment of the US economy later today could offer clues on the schedule for raising interest rates.
"The Fed has a history of telling the markets what they want to hear, or at least softening tough talk to a very palatable level," Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities told the Wall Street Journal. "As such, there may not be much reaction at all to what Yellen says. Still, with long-term interest rates inching up in both the U.S. and Japan, sweeping dollar appreciation may be capped for the time being, inducing more subtle stock market moves."
Traders also had their eyes on Greece, as the country unveiled reforms aimed at winning the eurozone's approval for extended rescue loans. It submitted a list of proposals that the eurozone finance ministers are expected to review during a conference call this afternoon.
The Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.1 per cent to 18,490.02, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5 per cent to 1,977.77. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 per cent to 24,714.99 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 per cent to 5,911.20. Markets in mainland China remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
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