Asian stocks mixed; investors watch the Ukraine crisis

Shares in Asia-Pacific seemed to be mixed in Monday trade as investors kept watching Ukraine’s situation. In the meantime, China left a benchmark lending rate without any changes.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 2.1% momentarily in morning trade before retracing some of those losses. It fell last 0.86% in the afternoon while the Topix index dropped 0.83%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.46%.

The Shanghai Composite fell 0.37% in mainland China while the Shenzhen component fell 0.257%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.72%.

China on Monday maintained steady on a benchmark lending rate, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) unchanged at 3.8%. That was in line with forecasts from all financial institutions in a Reuters poll. The five-year LPR also appeared unchanged at 4.7%.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 earned 0.25%. The Straits Times index in Singapore also rose 0.18%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares traded 0.43% lower outside Japan.

Investor sentiment in the region might have improved after Joe Biden accepted a meeting with Vladimir Putin if Moscow had not invaded Ukraine.

Concerns of a potential Russian attack on Ukraine kept investors on edge. Biden said Friday the U.S. believes Putin has decided to attack Ukraine in the coming days. On Monday, markets in the U.S. remain closed for a holiday.

The U.S. dollar index, tracking the greenback against a basket of its equivalents, was 95.847 after seeing an earlier high of 96.152.

The Japanese yen changed at 114.97 per dollar after boosting to around 114.9 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7207, against an earlier low of $0.7158.

Oil prices appeared higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures increasing 0.15% to $93.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.46% to $91.49 per barrel.




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