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Asian Equities Close Mixed as Investors Await Directional Cues from China, Japan, Australia

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks closed on a mixed note on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia continued and investors awaited a slew of data from China, Japan and Australia this week for directional cues. Concerns about political instability in the U.K. and Saudi Arabia also weighed on markets.

The pound came under selling pressure after the Sunday Times reported that 40 Conservative members of Parliament intend to sign a letter of no-confidence in British Prime Minister Theresa May.

A surge in financials following Beijing’s deregulation in the financial sector helped Chinese stocks finish the day solidly higher.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 15.16 points or 0.44 percent to 3,447.84 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.36 percent at 29,227 in late trade.

Japanese shares fell sharply to end near two-week low, with realty and technology stocks pacing the decliners after recent rallies.

The Nikkei average tumbled 300.43 points or 1.32 percent to 22,380.99, extending losses for the fourth straight session and marking its lowest closing level since Oct. 31. The broader Topix index finished 0.94 percent lower at 1,783.49.

Realty stocks such as Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsui Fudosan lost 3-4 percent while tech stocks Tokyo Electron and Advantest declined 1-2 percent. Nissin Foods Holdings soared over 7 percent on solid earnings results.

Australian shares closed slightly lower, dragged down by financials as banks ANZ and Westpac fell sharply after going ex-dividend. ANZ shares lost 2.7 percent while Westpac fell 2.4 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slid 7.60 points or 0.13 percent to 6,021.80 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 7.10 points or 0.12 percent at 6,097.20.

Higher base metals prices helped lift miners, with heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto closing up around 1 percent each. The Aussie dollar was little changed despite upbeat comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia deputy governor Guy Debelle and the escalating citizenship MP eligibility fiasco.

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