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Asia shares subdued amid US-South Korea military drill

Asia shares subdued amid US-South Korea military drill

Asian shares were subdued on Monday in morning session as investors remained unconvinced about US President Donald Trump's ability to fulfill his economic agenda and US-South Korea joint military drills kicked off.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slid 0.47% as gains in oil stocks was offset by softness in most automakers and technology names.

Across the Korean strait, the Kospi was off 0.17% as joint US-South Korea military exercises began on 21 August.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.48%, with weakness in the health care and telecommunication services sub-indexes leading losses. The heavily-weighted financials sub-index traded lower by 0.50%.

Greater China markets bucked the downward trend to climb higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.57% in early trade. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.21% and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.45%.

In Hong Kong, the investors focused on telecoms sector, with state-owned China Unicom’s Shanghai-listed unit confirmed a private placement plan to companies including Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu. Shares of the telco's Hong Kong-listed unit resumed trade on Monday and soared 9.38%.

In corporate news, Australia's Fortescue Metals Group said Monday that net profit rose 113% to $2.09 billion for the year ended 30 June. Fortescue shares jumped 6.45% after the miner announced a larger dividend than expected.

Other market movers included Australian steel company Bluescope, which saw its stock tumble 20.20% after the company highlighted a weaker outlook for earnings.

In the currency market, the dollar was also hampered by political uncertainty in Washington.

Against the yen, the dollar fetched 109.22 yen, not far from Friday's four-month low of 108.605.

The euro stood at $1.1715, stuck in its rough $1.17-$1.18 range in the past two weeks, as investors look to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's comments later this week at a meeting of the world's central bankers in Jackson Hole.

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