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Asian Shares Retreat As Hopes For Big Fed Rate Cut Fade

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Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday as hopes for an aggressive rate reduction by the U.S. central bank faded and tensions between Britain and Iran rose in the Persian Gulf.

Chinese stocks closed lower as a Nasdaq-style technology board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange marked its debut. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 37.23 points or 1.3 percent to 2,886.97, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 394.14 points or 1.4 percent to 28,371.26.

Japanese shares fell modestly as investors scaled back expectations of a 50 basis point rate cut at the July 30-31 Fed meeting. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc won a solid majority in Japan's upper house election on Sunday, helping limit the downside to some extent.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 50.20 points or 0.2 percent at 21,416.79, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,556.37.

Canon fell 1.2 percent and Nidec gave up 0.9 percent ahead of their earnings results due this week.

Asahi Group Holdings slumped 8.9 percent after the brewer said it would issue up to 200 billion yen (approx. $1.85 billion) of shares to fund its planned purchase of Anheuser Busch InBev's Australian operations.

On the other hand, chip-related firms such as Advantest, Taiyo Yuden Co and Screen Holdings climbed 2-3 percent after Taiwan's TSMC forecast that robust demand for 5G chips will drive a stronger second-half.

Australian markets edged down slightly as expectations for a smaller-than-expected U.S. rate cut curbed investor appetite for riskier assets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 9.10 points or 0.1 percent to 6,691.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended marginally lower at 6,781.20.

Higher iron ore prices helped lift miners, with BHP and Rio Tinto rising 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group rallied 2.3 percent ahead of its quarterly output results due on Thursday.

Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search climbed between 0.7 percent and 1.7 percent as oil prices rose on concerns that Iran's seizure of a British tanker last week may lead to supply disruptions in West Asia.

Beach Energy soared 5.3 percent after beginning construction work on a $22 million redevelopment of the Katnook gas-processing plant near Penola.

The big four banks ended narrowly mixed, while healthcare stocks such as CSL and Cochlear ended down over 1 percent.

Seoul stocks finished little changed with a negative bias after the release of weak trade data showing that the country's exports for the first 20 days of this month fell a sharp 13.6 percent from a year earlier. Investors also took a cautious stance ahead of the corporate earnings season.

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares rose notably to extend gains for the fourth straight session. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 71.54 points or 0.7 percent to 10,824.69. Market heavyweight a2 Milk Company advanced 1.7 percent to reach a record high.

U.S. stocks fell on Friday as investors digested a slew of corporate earnings reports and remarks from a top Fed official dampened hopes of a near-term interest rate cut.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 0.6 percent.

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