Tokyo's Nikkei index has surged past its December 1989 record
Tokyo's Nikkei index has surged past its December 1989 record AFP News

Stock markets were mixed on Monday after last week's rally as investors turned their attention to a clutch of economic data in the coming days.

Wall Street had trouble holding onto opening gains and retreated to end the day in the red, following a Friday session that saw two of the three main US indices hit record peaks.

However in Asia, Tokyo's key Nikkei index closed at a fresh all-time high, after beating a record Friday that had stood since 1989.

European stock markets were mixed, with London and Paris in the red while Frankfurt ended with a tiny gain.

Last week's strong gains were fuelled by stellar results from US technology titan Nvidia, a bellwether for artificial intelligence. The company's shares closed 0.4 percent higher on Monday.

"It has been a quiet start to the week as investors continue to come down from the 'sugar rush' supplied by Nvidia's earnings report after Wednesday's close," said David Morrison, senior market analyst at financial services provider Trade Nation.

Investors were now looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, the US Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index due Thursday.

"There is a lot of uncertainty about the Fed policy," said economist Hugh Johnson, who pointed to a wide range of views on what the US central bank will do in 2024.

The data may give a clearer handle on when the Fed will start cutting interest rates following upticks in other inflation gauges, the consumer price index and the producer price index.

Expectations for when the Fed may begin lowering rates have gradually shifted from the spring to summer to the second half of the year, as inflation data has come in hot and policymakers indicate they need to see more signs that it is moving sustainably towards their 2.0 percent target.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, said that "the resilience of equities in the face of diminishing expectations of Fed rate cuts in the first half of the year, and maybe even in the second half, shows that there is a lot more to the rally than just hopes of looser monetary policy."

Following the PCE data, investors will turn their focus to Chinese manufacturing numbers due Friday.

China's economy is in the doldrums and losses in Shanghai on Monday came despite Beijing saying it wanted to boost sales of cars, appliances and other consumer products in "piecemeal incentives to stimulate the economy," noted Rodrigo Catril, senior currencies strategist at National Australia Bank.

Government interventions have stabilized the market, with Chinese stocks rebounding from early February lows.

But underlying weakness means "investors are crying out for larger economic supports to be rolled out," Harry Murphy Cruise from Moody's Analytics told AFP.

Market players are watching to see if extra spending and an ambitious growth target will be announced in March to help China's economy gain momentum through the year, according to Cruise.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 39,069.23 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,069.53 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 15,976.25 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,684.30 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,929.82 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: FLAT at 17,423.23 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 02. percent at 4,864.29 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 39,233.71 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.5 percent at 16,634.74 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.9 percent at 2,977.02 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0853 from $1.0824 on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 150.70 yen from 150.53 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2684 from $1.2672

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 1.1 percent at $82.53 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.4 percent at $77.58 per barrel.