Asian markets ended flat Monday despite a positive lead from Wall Street, with the Japanese market exhibiting firm trend amid a weak yen. Lack of direction in the absence of major economic data out this week in Asia also weighed on traders' sentiment.
In the commodities markets, the price of crude oil was extending its three-month high on supply concerns with tension brewing in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia advised its citizens to get out of Lebanon and Israel indicating its willingness to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Crude for September delivery added $0.23 to $96.24 a barrel.
The price of gold was little changed Monday morning as the U.S. dollar was trading firm amid a recent batch of upbeat economic data, which dimmed hopes for further stimulus measures from the world's biggest economy. Gold for December deliver eased $0.60 to $1,618.80 an ounce.
The Japanese market ended higher, with the Nikkei Index edging up 8.66 points or 0.09 percent to 9,171.16, largely helped by upsurges in export related stocks as the yen turned weak amid dimming chances of fresh monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve.
Audio-visual equipments maker Funai Electric jumped nearly 5 percent and car accessories company Kasai Kogyo Co. added around 1 percent. Meanwhile, electronics parts maker TDK Corp. slipped nearly 1 percent.
The China's Shanghai Composite index eased 7.93 points or 0.38 percent to 2,106.96 amid speculation that the Chinese officials will hold off from easing monetary policy following a report that revealed real-estate prices jumped.
Real estate company China Vanke Co. shed over 1 percent and Poly Real Estate was down about 3 percent.
China's biggest producer of rare earth materials Baotou Rare-Earth slipped nearly 2 percent after reporting a lower first-half profits. Insurer China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. dropped nearly 4 percent after reporting a 55 percent drop in its first-half net income
The Hong Kong market ended as loser amid profit taking in financial stocks, with the Hang Seng Index losing 11.80 points or 0.06 percent to 20,104.27.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of Communications Co. were among the notable losers.
Australia stocks ended marginally lower as solid gains for defensive shares offset the drag from heavyweight stocks trading without the rights to their dividends, with the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index easing 1,90 points or 0.04 percent to 4,391.90.
Two of the most widely held stocks, telephone company Telstra and Commonwealth Bank of Australia traded ex-dividend. Telstra, which paid a A$0.14 dividend, lost over 5 percent, while CBA, which paid a A$1.97 dividend, lost about 3 percent.
Meanwhile, stocks in New Zealand settled higher, with the NZX 50 index adding 21.43 points or 0.59 percent to 3,661.09 points. Defensive shares posted a strong session, with blood products maker CSL adding about 3 percent, hearing implant maker Cochlear up nearly 3 percent, and healthcare company Ramsay up close to 2 percent.
Elsewhere, the South Korean Kospi shed 0.23 points to 1,946.31. Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and India were closed for a public holiday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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