Asia Markets Mixed on Tax Reform Concern

Asia markets traded mixed on Monday, following a decline in U.S. equities last Friday on lingering concerns about American tax reform.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 let go of 135.04 points, or 0.6%, to close the week’s first session at 22,261.76

The Hang Seng Index gained 61.27 points, or 0.2%, to 29,260.31

In Japan, Inpex trimmed morning gains to close down 0.1% and Japan Petroleum was up 1.2%

In corporate news, Toshiba said it would raise 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion U.S.) from a sale of new shares

The company needs to raise 750 billion yen by the end of March to plug the hole in its balance sheet following the bankruptcy of its U.S. nuclear power business or it will be de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange

Toshiba shares closed down 5.8%

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese offline food retail, Sun Art Retail Group, fell 3.6% in afternoon trade, after tech giant Alibaba announced it will invest a total of $2.88 billion U.S. to acquire a 36.2% stake in the company.

Sun Art operates about 446 hypermarkets in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China, according to Alibaba.

In Australia, markets dipped as the heavily-weighted financial sub-index was down 0.4%, while the energy sector trimmed morning gains to rise 0.1%.

Energy plays in Asia Pacific were mixed. In Australia, shares of Santos rose 0.6%, after shaving morning gains of near 2%. Woodside Petroleum was up 0.6% while Beach Energy gave up early gains to close down 0.5%. Oil Search shares fell 1%

Among other currency majors, the Japanese yen traded at 112.03 to the U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar fetched $0.7563 U.S.

One focus for investors: Analysts were cautiously optimistic about the U.S. tax reform getting done this year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the media on Friday that he expects a Republican tax reform bill to be sent to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 added 22.98 points, or 0.6%, to 4,143.83

In Korea, the Kospi index docked 6.32 points to 2,527.67

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index dropped 37.09 points, or 0.4%, to 10,664.55

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index moved higher 4.21 points, or 0.1%, to 3,386.59

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 strengthened 27.82 points, or 0.4%, to 8,089.80

In Australia, the ASX 200 backtracked 11.58 points, or 0.2%, to 5,945.67