Equities in Asia traded mixed on Monday in morning session as investors sought fresh catalysts following last week’s run to record highs and after US stocks closed mostly lower on Friday.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.72%, with trading houses, financials and retailers mostly lower. Energy-related stocks, however, were mixed against the broadly declining index. Fuji Oil Holding added 1.15% while Inpex slid 1.52%.
In South Korea, the Kospi edged down 0.39% as gains in automakers and cosmetics stocks were offset by losses in manufacturing names. Amorepacific gained 2.03%, Hyundai Motor jumped 3.24% and Samsung Heavy fell 2.38%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.22%. Moderate losses in the heavily-weighted financials sub-index, which fell 0.73%, weighed on the broader index.
In China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.24% while the Shenzhen Composite was off 0.18%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.41% in early trade.
In company news, Country Garden Holdings Co. jumped as much as 11% and Sunny Optical Technology Group Co. climbed as much as 5% after their inclusion in the index. Razer Inc. was up 24% above its IPO price, less than a week after the initial public offering of China Literature Ltd. skyrocketed on its debut on the city’s bourse.
In currency news, the US dollar advanced against all its major counterparts, with the pound falling the most. The Aussie dollar slipped amid fresh political turmoil that risked undermining confidence. Australian bond yields tracked an increase in the US at the end of last week.
Pound retreated after a report that as many as 40 Conservative MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in May, almost enough to trigger a leadership challenge.