Asia Markets Mixed as Investors Ponder G20 Events


Asian equities were mixed on Monday as investors mulled headlines out of the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Germany at the weekend.

Markets in Japan were shuttered for holiday

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong gained 192.06 points, or 0.8%, to 24,501.99

Finance ministers from 20 of the world's biggest economies held a two-day meeting, and warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday in Germany that the European Union and Japan should soon reach an economic deal, and stressed the importance of free trade to his country

Australian retailers were under pressure on Monday, due to fears of Amazon potentially launching its service in the country this year, analysts said.

Shares of JB Hi-Fi were down 2.8%, Harvey Norman dropped 8.2%, and Suparetail was down 3.4%

South Korea's Kospi finished lower. Earlier, official data showed that South Korea's February producer prices rose at its fastest pace in over five years, with the producer price index up at 4.2%, compared to January's 3.9%.

Oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings of Singapore filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, and said it had loans of $272 million U.S. owed to Singapore's DBS Group, and $184 million U.S. owed to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Shares of DBS Group and OCBC were down 1% and 0.5% respectively.

The yen strengthened to 112.68 against the U.S. dollar, falling below the 113 handle, against the greenback. The Australian dollar was stronger at $0.7723 U.S.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 regained 3.8 points, or 0.1%, to 3,449.61

Official data on Saturday showed that China's property prices rose in February after having slowed in the past four months. New home prices were up 0.3%, compared to January's 0.2% increase. Meanwhile, property sales jumped 25.1% in January and February, the strongest annual growth in seven years.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for 30 minutes on Sunday and said that President Donald Trump anticipated a meeting soon.

IBM and a unit of China's Dalian Wanda Group agreed on Sunday to team up to provide cloud services for Chinese firms through a newly formed venture, Wanda Cloud Company.

In other markets

The Kospi Index in Korea docked 7.57 points, or 0.4%, to 2,157.01

In Taiwan, the Taiex added 4.28 points, or 0.04%, to 9,912.97

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 3.68 points, or 0.1%, to 3,165.70

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 surrendered 101.09 points, or 1.4%, to 7,057.05

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slid 20.74 points, or 0.4%, to 5,778.91