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Asian Shares Mostly Lower As Investors Look To Fed

stockmarkets jan18 24jan22 lt

Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday, with U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine and fears about the Fed tightening monetary policy more aggressively in 2022 weighing on sentiment.

Investors also awaited the U.S. fourth-quarter GDP data, the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting and a slew of U.S. earnings reports due throughout the week for directional cues.

Chinese shares fluctuated before ending little changed after a former member of the monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China said looser monetary policy won't be sufficient and more government spending is needed to drive economic recovery. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 309.09 points, or 1.2 percent, to 24,656.46.

Japanese shares edged up slightly after a survey showed the country's factory activity grew at the fastest pace in four years in January. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 66.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 27,588.37, while the broader Topix ended 0.1 percent higher at 1,929.87.

Australian markets hit an eight-month low, with technology names and commodity-related stocks leading the losses. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 36.30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,139.50 - marking its lowest close since May 27.

The broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 48.60 points, or 0.7 percent, at 7,441.50. South32 shares fell 3.7 percent after the diversified miner warned of labor issues from the pandemic.

Home furnishing retailer Adairs plunged 21.5 percent on a weak earnings outlook. Fiber infrastructure provider Uniti Group jumped 9.3 percent after saying "more than one party" have shown interest in buying the company.

Seoul stocks hit a 13-month low as investors remained apprehensive ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week. The Kospi tumbled 42.29 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,792, closing below the 2,800-point mark for the first time since December 23, 2020.

Internet portal operator Naver dropped 1.4 percent, automaker Hyundai Motor shed 1.5 percent, chemical behemoth LG Chem lost 3.3 percent and financial heavyweight KB Financial Group declined 2.5 percent.

New Zealand shares ended off the day's lows in subdued trading, affected by the Wellington Anniversary holiday. The benchmark NZX-50 Index fell as low as 12,080.47 before closing down 156.94 points, or 1.3 percent, at 12,191.06.

U.S. stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Friday, fueled by a weak earnings report from Netflix and concerns about tightening Federal Reserve policy.

The Dow dropped 1.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.7 percent and the S&P 500 shed 1.9 percent.

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