SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed on Monday as new coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. as well in countries across Europe.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped fractionally to close at 23,494.34 while the Topix index shed 0.39% to end its trading day at 1,618.98.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi declined.0.72% to close at 2,343.91. Shares of firms affiliated to conglomerate Samsung Group were mixed following the passing of Samsung Electronics Chairman, Lee Kun-hee. Samsung C&T surged more than 19% while Samsung Life Insurance soared 6.34%. Samsung Electronics edged 0.5% higher. Samsung SDI and Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 1.3% and 0.77%, respectively.
Shares in Australia closed lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.18% to 6,155.60.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.16% lower.
The Hong Kong market was closed on Monday for a holiday.
Meanwhile, oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures fell 2.54% to $40.71 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 2.81% to $38.73 per barrel.
Developments out of China were watched, as the country’s top leaders meet this week to plan for the next five years.
Investor focus on Monday was also likely on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the West, with the U.S. recently reporting a record-breaking number of new virus cases.
Over in Europe, cases have also surged, with Reuters reporting that France registered record daily coronavirus infections while Italy ordered bars to close early and shut public gyms in a bid to stem a resurgence in the virus.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.929 after its bounce from levels below 92.8 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 104.94 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7109 following a rise from levels below $0.704 in the previous trading week.
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