Asian shares were mixed on Monday amid lingering worries surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Amid increased concerns about high commodity prices and inflation growth, investors awaited speeches by several key Fed officials this week for clues on the pace of tightening.
Chinese shares finished marginally higher despite a lockdown in Shanghai to curb Covid-19 outbreak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.31 percent to 21,684.97 amid a rally in tech shares.
Japanese stocks fell notably as investors locked in profits ahead of the fiscal year-end. The Nikkei average ended 0.73 percent lower at 27,943.89, snapping a nine-day winning streak.
The index finished off its day’s lows after the Bank of Japan offered to buy unlimited amounts of 10-year Japanese government bonds at 0.25 percent, displaying its commitment to its uber-dovish yield curve control policy.
Automakers Honda Motor and Nissan gained 1-2 percent after the yen weakened past 123 per dollar following the BOJ’s action.
Tech stocks underperformed, with Advantest and Tokyo Electron both falling over 1 percent. Uniqlo store operator Fast Retailing gave up 1.8 percent.
Australian markets finished marginally higher to extend gains for a fifth straight session, led by banks and miners.
Lender Westpac climbed 1.2 percent to hit its highest in about five months, while mining heavyweight BHP surged 2.3 percent, tracking higher iron ore prices following China’s move to boost its short-term fund injection to counter any tightness in market liquidity. Tech stocks declined, with Block Inc and Xero plunging 4-5 percent.
Seoul stocks ended flat with a negative bias as investors fretted about the economic consequences of rising commodity prices due to heightened geopolitical uncertainty.
New Zealand shares fell sharply, with the benchmark NZX-50 index ending 1.21 percent lower at 11,909.72. Heavyweights Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Ryman Healthcare tumbled 3.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday after the release of disappointing housing and consumer sentiment data.
The Dow edged up 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 added half a percent as investors looked past increasingly hawkish commentary from Fed officials and reports of a missile strike on a Saudi Aramco facility. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent.
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