Infection, Inflation Deflate Asian Stocks

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The major Asian indexes closed in the red on Monday, as renewed virus fears, anxiety over stubborn inflation and concerns over the resilience of the economic recovery impacted investor sentiment across the region.

China's Shanghai Composite Index closed near the flat line, declining by just 0.18 points or less than a tenth of a percent to close trade at 3,539.12. The People's Bank of China's rate decision is due on Tuesday, with markets expecting the status quo to continue.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed at 27,652.74, down 350.34 points or 1.3 percent, for the fourth day of trading declines as renewed virus fears gripped markets ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Anxiety ahead of Tuesday's release of June's inflation numbers also impacted sentiment.

Despite the sea of red, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. gained 2 percent and Eisai Co. moved up 1.2 percent.

Chemical company Showa Denko K.K. declined by 5.3 percent, while Ebara Corp., Tokai Carbon, and Sumco Corp. all dropped more than 4 percent.

The U.S. dollar-yen pair hovered near 109.8 levels in the backdrop of a worsening domestic coronavirus situation and a strengthening dollar trajectory.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 514.90 points or 1.8 percent to close at 27,489.78. The day's high was at 27,786.54 and low was at 27,397.29.

The KOSPI of the Korea Exchange shed 32.87 points or 1 percent to close trade at 3244.04, pulled down mostly by tech stocks as inflation and infection worries resumed.

Australia's S&P/ASX200 Index dropped 62.10 points or 0.9 percent to close at 7,286.00. The index now is 1.6 percent below its 52-week high amidst an anxious wait for the RBA's meeting minutes on Tuesday and retail sales indicators on Wednesday.

Deterra Royalties bucked the bearish trend to rise 4.1 percent and so did medical device company Polynovo, which gained 3.4 percent.

Exploration specialist Chalice Mining declined 9.1 percent and gold miner Evolution Mining corrected 8.5 percent.

The NZX 50 of the New Zealand Stock Exchange shed 21.06 points or 0.2 percent to close at 12,652.09 amidst accelerating infection rates and a halt to additional asset purchases by the central bank.

Employment Solutions Provider PaySauce was the lead gainer with a rally of 4.6 percent, while jeweler chain Michael Hill International, which released fourth-quarter trading update, on Friday gained 4.3 percent.

Evolve Education Group declined 6.1 percent closely followed by aged-care provider Radius Residential Care, which slid 5.7 percent.

On Friday, the Nasdaq 100 had closed at 14,681.38, down by 113.31 points or 0.8 percent whereas the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 34,687.85, down by 0.9 percent as markets remained unconvinced of the transitory nature of the inflation surge, despite accommodative comments from Fed officials.

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