Asian shares were subdued on Monday as investors remained cautious in the absence catalysts and amid tensions in Ukraine as several markets remained closed for the Easter holiday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1% to 139 as of 12:41 p.m. in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.1%. The Topix index added 0.2%, heading for a two-week high. Japan's Nikkei stock average gained 0.3% on the back of a weaker yen.
The yen extended its biggest weekly loss in a month against the dollar after a report showed Japan’s trade deficit widened more than forecast last month.
India’s BSE Sensex and Singapore’s Straits Times Index both added 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 0.4%, while Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 0.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.3% on concerns towards potential new listings diluting the market after the securities regulator released draft prospectuses for new companies planning to list.
CSC Nanjing Tanker Corp., set to be the first stock delisted from Shanghai’s exchange in seven years, plunged 9.8% as it began its final 30 days of trading.
Markets in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand are closed today.
Tensions in Ukraine, signs of slowing growth in China and uncertainty over when the US Federal Reserve would start to tighten interest rates have buffeted global markets in recent weeks, although Fed Chair Janet Yellen's dovish comments last week helped soothe some nerves.
In corporate news, SoftBank Corp. added 1.6%, pacing gains among Japanese phone companies. Consumer-loan providers Acom Co. and Aiful Corp. each jumped at least 12% after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the ruling party is considering loosening lending restrictions.
Ono Pharmaceutical Co. fell 1.8% to lead losses among health-care stocks. LG Innotek Co., which supplies parts used in Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, dropped 3% as it retreated from a three-year high.