By Daniel Inman
Japanese stocks were lower on Monday, as a stronger yen and the unrest in Ukraine weighed on sentiment in Tokyo, while Shanghai fell on concerns over a glut of new stock offerings.
The Nikkei lost 1.3% as the yen rose to nearly Yen102 to the dollar. The dollar (USDJPY) was last at Yen102.13, compared with Yen102.19 late Friday in New York, with the yen strengthening as U.S. and European governments planned to ramp up sanctions against Russia as early as Monday. The move comes as pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine on Sunday paraded Western military observers as hostages.
Also weighing on sentiment in Japan was a disappointing earnings report from Honda Motor , which lost 4.3% after its guidance missed expectations. The company said that it expects its net income to rise 3.6% this fiscal year, much slower growth than in the recently ended fiscal year, when its net income soared by 56%.
Also in Tokyo, shares in Japan Display sank 12.1% after the Apple (AAPL) supplier lowered its annual profit target just over a month after its mid-March listing.
In China, the Shanghai Composite lost 1.2% after China's securities regulator announced a resumption of initial public offerings late on Friday, reigniting concerns that new listings will drain funds from the weak stock market. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.4%.
"The news that securities officials will meet on Wednesday to vet four IPOs depressed sentiment," said Zeng Xiaozhao, an analyst at Everbright Securities . It will be the first meeting of its kind for 18 months.
China Construction Bank bucked the negative trend in Hong Kong's broader market. The lender's stock was up 0.8% after it reported that its first-quarter net profit rose by 10% from a year earlier, boosted by interest income and growth in fees and commissions. China Minsheng Bank gained 0.3% after it reported a 15% year-over-year increase in its first-quarter net profit.
Investors were also looking ahead to potentially market-moving events later in the week. In Asia, the main piece of economic data will be Chinese manufacturing numbers for April, out Thursday; while out of the U.S., investors will be looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's policy meeting, which concludes Wednesday, and the monthly jobs report at the end of the week.
Away from Japan and China, markets were mixed at the beginning of the week. Australia's S&P ASX 200 was up 0.3%, South Korea's Kospi added 0.2%, and Singapore's Straits Times Index lost 0.2%.
Other must-read MarketWatch stories include:
Asia Stocks blog: Bull's dilemma
China bans 'Big Bang Theory,' 'Good Wife' amid Internet crackdown
Stephen: China's anti-graft campaign here to stay
-Daniel Inman; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
04-28-14 0549ETCopyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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