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Asia stocks mixed, dollar slips as Fed continues to weigh

´╗┐Asian stocks were mixed on Monday in thin trade, following Wall Street's declines and the G20's decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism, while the Federal Reserve's less hawkish-than-expected comments continued to drag the dollar lower. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan . MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.1 percent. Chinese shares . SSEC added 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng . HSI advanced 0.6 percent. But Australian shares lost 0.3 percent and South Korea . KS11 slid 0.5 percent. Japan . N225 is closed for a holiday. The MSCI emerging markets index . MIEF00000PUS added 0.3 percent to hit its highest level in more than two years on Monday. Investor sentiment towards emerging markets, while cooling, still remains positive. Emerging market equity funds had their sixth straight week of inflows in the week ending March 15, but the pace slowed sharply. They had net inflows of $215 million, after inflows of nearly $1 billion the previous week, according to Thomson Reuters data. On Friday, Wall Street was flat to negative, dragged lower by bank shares that fell along with Treasury yields.

Financial leaders from the world's biggest economies reiterated their warnings against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets at the meeting in the German town of Baden-Baden over the weekend. But they failed to agree on a commitment to keep global trade free and open, highlighting a global shift towards protectionism. On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended free trade, calling for a trade deal to be reached quickly between Japan and the European Union and distancing themselves from protectionist rhetoric coming from the Trump administration. "Essentially (the G20 outcome was) a result of the U.S. protectionist stance, something Trump has been very clear on and the market is well aware of this," James Woods, global investment analyst at Rivkin Securities in Sydney, said.

"Importantly we saw other leaders such as Shinzo Abe and Angela Merkel come out publicly supporting free trade, and for now the protectionist stance remains constrained to the U.S. It would be more concerning if this began spreading to other countries." The dollar didn't react to the statements from the meeting, hovering close to its near-three-week low touched on Friday. It traded almost 0.1 percent lower at 112.62 yen JPY=D4. The dollar index . DXY, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six trade-weighted peers, also slipped 0.1 percent to 100.17, just a touch above Friday's 5 1/2-week low. Markets are focused on a raft of speeches by Federal Reserve officials this week, including Chicago's Charles Evans on Tuesday and Friday, Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday, Dallas's Robert Kaplan and Minneapolis's Neel Kashkari on Friday and New York's William Dudley on Saturday.

The euro climbed 0.2 percent to $1.0762, riding the investor relief over the Netherlands election defeat of anti-European Union candidate Geert Wilders to hit a near-six-week peak on Friday. Attention now turns to the French election, with the first Presidential debate set to take place on Monday. Opinion polls show independent centrist Emmanuel Macron would lead far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a hair in first-round voting, before beating her in the run-off. In commodities, oil prices continued their downward trend as doubts grew about the effectiveness of OPEC cuts in containing a supply glut as U.S. inventories continue to climb. U.S. crude CLc1 dropped almost 0.8 percent to $48.42 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 fell 0.4 percent to $51.51. The weaker dollar boosted gold XAU=, which added 0.5 percent to $1,234.14 an ounce.

Elon Musks new co could allow uploading, downloading thoughts Wall Stree...

´╗┐Tesla Inc founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuralink Corp through which computers could merge with human brains, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Musk calls the "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts, the Journal reported. (

Musk has not made an official announcement, but Neuralink was registered in California as a "medical research" company last July, and he plans on funding the company mostly by himself, a person briefed on the plans told the Journal.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to space launch company SpaceX and Tesla, the Journal report said.

Snap surges after IPO banks give flurry of 'buy' ratings Shares of Snap Inc jumped over 5 percent on Monday after several of the Snapchat owner's IPO underwriters handed it badly-needed "buy" ratings.

Toshiba wants Westinghouse to file for bankruptcy as early as Tuesday: source TOKYO Toshiba Corp wants its U. S nuclear unit to file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors as early as Tuesday, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, seeking a quick ringfencing of losses before the Japanese parent's financial year ends.

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