Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as the conflict in the Middle East continued and investors looked for cues from a slew of central bank meetings due this week.
The U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan are set to hold their monetary policy meetings this week, with economists expecting a status quo policy from the U.S. central bank and the U.K. central bank.
Analysts expect the Bank of Japan to potentially further tweak its yield curve control (YCC) policy when it meets on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops have entered the Gaza Strip for the first time in nearly two decades, but it is unclear whether the maneuvers mark the official start of an invasion.
The dollar held steady in cautious trade ahead of global manufacturing data due this week.
Gold consolidated near multi-month highs above the key $2,000 per level, while crude prices fell more than 1 percent in Asian trading on easing Middle East worries.
Chinese shares recovered from an early slide to close slightly higher, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edging up 0.1 percent to 3,021.55. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally higher at 17,406.36.
China Evergrande Group shares plunged nearly 10 percent after Hong Kong’s High Court gave the embattled property developer a five-week reprieve to come up with a deal with creditors or face liquidation.
Japanese shares fell sharply as a two-day policy meeting of the BOJ got underway. The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.0 percent to 30,696.96, while the broader Topix Index closed 1.0 percent lower at 2,231.24.
Automakers led losses, with Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors falling 2-4 percent. Healthcare equipment maker Omron lost 15.8 percent after slashing its annual profit forecast.
Seoul stocks reversed course to send modestly higher, with the Kospi closing up 0.3 percent at 2,310.55.
Australian markets fell notably on concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could spill over across the Middle East. Upbeat retail sales data also strengthened expectations the Reserve Bank will hike rates when it meets on November 7.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.8 percent to 6,772.90, marking its lowest level in more than 12 months. The broader All Ordinaries Index dropped 0.8 percent to 6,960.20.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index finished 0.2 percent lower at 10,741.57.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday but notched weekly losses on fears of a recession and interest rates staying higher for longer.
The Dow fell 1.1 percent to hit a seven-month low and the S&P 500 dropped half a percent to reach a five-month closing low after data showed both inflation and consumer spending rose in September.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4 percent after Amazon trounced analysts’ expectations for third quarter revenue and earnings.
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