Asian indices painted a mixed trading picture on Monday after a gathering of central bankers failed to provide policy clarity which markets were expecting. Trading was subdued on the back of an uninspiring U.S. lead and a lack of economic data.
Wall Street ended mostly lower on Friday, as speeches by European Central Bank President (ECB) Mario Draghi and Fed Chair Janet Yellen provided no surprises. Yellen reiterated that slack remains in the U.S. labor market even as the American economy continues a five-year recovery and Draghi expressed confidence that stimulus already announced and a weaker euro would help the euro-zone economy, but noted the ECB is ready to do more if needed.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.2 percent on Friday while the Nasdaq added 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent, leaving it with a 1.7 percent weekly gain and about 4 points from its record close and within 7 points of its intraday record, both set Thursday.
On the geopolitical front, Ukraine marked its independence day on Sunday. The sound of shelling in rebel-held Donetsk was unusually intense, with rebels saying the Ukrainian troops were trying to score a victory to market their national day.
Israel launched more air strikes on Gaza on Sunday after taking its military campaign to a new level by flattening a 13-story apartment tower following a warning to residents to evacuate.