TOKYO – Asian shares were mostly lower Monday as investors awaited the release of a preliminary manufacturing survey from China this week that might show renewed weakness in the world's second-largest economy.
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KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent to 16,200.73 as the yen regained some strength against the U.S. dollar. South Korea's Kospi fell 1 percent to 2,032.97 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 1.2 percent to 24,006.28. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.9 percent to 5,386.80. Shares in Southeast Asia also fell. New Zealand bucked the trend.
THE QUOTE: "All eyes will be on China's HSBC flash PMI after the recent spate of soft data, especially industrial production and property prices last week," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. HSBC's gauge of China manufacturing is due Tuesday.
NZ VOTE: Trading in energy companies pushed New Zealand's stock market higher following an election victory Saturday for the ruling National Party. The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 1.3 percent. Energy companies all posted gains of more than 5 percent. The losing Labour Party had promised to intervene in the energy market with a new government agency. The policy was aimed at lowering prices for consumers, but would likely also have lowered the valuations of power companies.
CURRENCIES: The yen has been trading at six-year lows as the dollar has surged in anticipation the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next year while Bank of Japan maintains easy monetary policy. However on Monday the dollar was slightly lower, at 108.83 yen, after closing Friday at 109.05 yen. The euro rose to $1.2854 from $1.2831.
G-20 PLEDGE: A pledge of further stimulus from finance chiefs of the Group of 20 industrial nations over the weekend appeared to fall flat amid deepening concern over faltering recoveries in major economies apart from the U.S. Finance chiefs from the G-20, representing about 85 percent of the global economy, said Sunday they are close to reaching a goal set in February of boosting world GDP by more than $2 trillion over the next five years, and will focus on infrastructure investment to help reach the target. But they also warned that despite improving economic conditions in some key economies, growth remains uneven and below the pace necessary to generate critically needed jobs.
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ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil slipped 22 cents to $91.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 33 cents to close at $91.65 a barrel on Friday.