U.S. markets moderately declined from fresh all-time highs as the telecommunications sector, oil & gas and industrials led shares lower ahead of US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Markets will closely watch the testimony for clues as to when the world's largest economy may raise interest rates.
Yesterday data showed Sales of existing homes fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in January from 5.07 million in December. That was the lowest level since April 2014.
The DOW JONES index declined by -0.13% easily closing above the psychologically important threshold of 18,000 points at 18,116.84 points. The S&P 500 closed -0.03% with a final quote of 2,109.66 points reversing early losses.
Hong Kong stocks declined and the Hang Seng Index to a break after its longest winning streak in seven months as HSBC Holdings Plc, an index heavyweight led shares lower. Energy shares declined with oil prices. The Hang Seng is trading -0.40% at 24,736.24 points.
Japanese markets rose for a fifth day and closed at a fresh 15-year high in today's trading on a weakening Japanese yen. The Nikkei added 136 points, closing 0.74% with a final quote of 18,603.48 points - the highest level since April 2000.