Japan’s Nikkei Leads Asia Dow Lower

It’s been a mixed day for Asia’s markets with Japan’s Nikkei leading the the Asia Dow index 0.71% lower.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 retreated 0.13% but remained above the 6,000 threshold. Westpac Banking (WBC.AU) and ANZ (ANZ) were among the worst performers, losing 2.38% and 2.7%, respectively. Both banks were trading ex-dividend. Syrah Resources (SYR.AU) was the best performing stock, jumping 10% after a company presentation which outlined its ambition to become the ‘pre-eminent supplier of flake graphite‘.  The big miners BHP Billiton (BHP.AU) and Rio Tinto (RIO.AU) traded up 0.75% and 1.1%, respectively. Financial services software company Iress (IRE.AU)was the worst performing stock, falling 5% after saying it expects weaker profits for 2017.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell for the third consecutive trading day, closing 1.32% down at 22,380.99. Mitsui Mining & Smelting (5706.JP) was the best performing stock, leaping 17% to a 10-year high after raising its profit forecast.  Chiyoda fell 8% after the LNG infrastructure firm revealed an operating loss of JPY13.13 billion last Friday.  Fast Retailing (9983.JP), the operator of Uniqlo stores, fell 3.05%.

China’s markets closed higher with the Shanghai Composite closing up 0.44%. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Sang Index ended the day 0.4% up with AIA Group (1299.HK) the best performing stock, jumping 6.5% on China’s promise to ease foreign ownership limits in the financial sector. Apple-supplier AAC Technologies (2018.HK) gained 6.3% on its strong earnings outlook. Tencent (700.HK) was up 1.25% ahead of the Chinese internet giant’s third quarter results on Wednesday. Broker UOB Kay Hian raised its target price on the stock by 15% on the expectation of robust growth driven by advertising and artificial intelligence.  Shares in Cathay Pacific Airways (293.HK) and the airline’s largest shareholder – Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific (19.HK) – fell 0.16% and 1.7%, respectively, on news that the flagship carrier would be dropped from Hang Seng Index, Hong Kong’s gauge of blue chip stocks. Kunlun Energy (135.HK), which will also be removed from the index, was the worst performing stock, losing 3.9%. Cathay Pacific and Kunlun Energy will be replaced by property developer, Country Garden (2007.HK) and Apple-supplier Sunny Optical (2382.HK), which jumped 6% and 5%, respectively, on the news.

Elsewhere, Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.5% lower, while Taiwan’s TAIEX closed…

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