Shares in Asia Closed Mixed Ahead of Fed

Asian markets closed mixed on Monday, with Japan's benchmark index underperforming regional peers as investors also turned their attention to the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting later in the week.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 195.81 points, or 0.9%, to 21,480.90

Investor sentiment took a hit on the back of an ongoing political scandal involving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the sale of state-owned land.

The yen, regarded as a safe haven currency, firmed to trade at 105.73 to the U.S. dollar by late in the trading day.

Major exporters, including technology and automaker names, as well as financials ended in negative territory, although some manufacturing names clung to gains.

The Hang Seng Index gained 11.79 points to 31,513.76

Among individual movers, shares of property developer CK Asset Holdings were off by 0.6%, after tumbling more than 3% earlier after Li Ka Shing said he would step down as its chairman in May. Conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings declined 1.8% ahead of the market close.

Korea markets were down, as automakers were sharply lower while steelmakers logged slight gains. Hyundai Motor fell 3.8% and Posco rose 0.3%.

In Australia, energy stocks rose 1.7%, leading gains on the day after the rise in oil prices in the last session.

Shares of several display makers in the region also fell following a Bloomberg report that Apple was producing its own screens for the first time. Samsung Electronics closed lower by 0.8% while Japanese names saw sharper falls, with Japan Display down 2.4%.

CHINA

The CSI 300 regained 17.83 points, or 0.4%, to 4,074.25.

The startup ChiNext board rose 1.2%, besting the gain seen on the large cap CSI 300 index, with health care stocks leading the move higher.

Of note, economist Yi Gang was nominated to take over the helm at the People's Bank of China from current Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, parliament delegates told Reuters on Monday.

The move was seen as a sign of continuity with the central bank's policy.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex moved up 19.2 points, or 0.2%, to 11,046.90

In Korea, the Kospi faded 18.94 points, or 0.8%, to 2,475.03

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 13.85 points, or 0.4%, to 3,398.29

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 15.04 points, or 0.2%, to 8,492.12

The ASX 200 hiked 10.01 points, or 0.2%, to 5,959.43