World Markets are Mixed and Japan's Nikkei Tops 40,000, On Eve of China Congress

HONG KONG (AP) -- World stocks were mixed Monday ahead of China's top annual political gathering, while Japan's benchmark surpassed the 40,000 level for the first time.

Germany's DAX edged 0.1% higher to 17,752.66. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.1% to 7,929.27 and London's FTSE 100 declined 0.2% at 7,666.31.

The future for the S&P 500 was down 0.1% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2%.

In Asian trading, Japan's Nikkei 225 share index gained 0.5% to close at 40,109.23 following an advance last week on Wall Street that pushed U.S. stocks to new heights.

Shares in Japan have tracked gains in other markets driven by expectations for strong demand for technology associated with artificial intelligence. They have also been boosted by continued easy credit policies with the Bank of Japan pumping money into the economy to help support growth.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added less than 0.1% to 16,595.97 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.4% to 3,039.31.

This week the spotlight is mainly on China's National People's Congress, the country's most important political event. It opens Tuesday, and investors are watching for updates on specific policies to help support the slowing economy, resolve troubles in the property market and stabilize financial markets.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Kospi in Seoul surged 1.2% to 2,674.27 after a private-sector survey showed the country's manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in February compared to the month before, as overseas demand weakened.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down less than 0.1% at 7,735.80, and in Bangkok the SET was virtually unchanged.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 5,137.08 a day after setting an all-time high. It's been on a tremendous run and has climbed in 16 of the last 18 weeks because of excitement about cooling inflation and a mostly resilient U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 39,087.38. Technology stocks led the market, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.1% to 16,274.94, a day after surpassing its prior record set in 2021.

Federal Reserve has hiked its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001. High interest rates can squeeze the financial system. The hope has been that the Fed will cut interest rates several times this year to offer some relief for banks and the broader economy.

The Fed has indicated it may do so if inflation continues to cool decisively toward its 2% target. But a string of stronger-than-expected reports on the economy have made traders push back forecasts for when the cuts could begin. The hope now is that the Fed could start in June after traders shelved earlier expectations for March.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.21% Monday from 4.25% late Thursday.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 30 cents to $80.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 44 cents to $83.99 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 150.38 Japanese yen from 150.08 yen. The euro was up to $1.0845 from $1.0841.