(RTTNews.com) - Most Asian stocks fell on Monday as oil extended losses on supply concerns and the G20 finance ministers meeting in Germany during the weekend failed to agree on a commitment to keep global trade free and open.
Chinese stocks bucked the weak trend to close higher as gains among energy stocks offset declines in the realty sector. China's property market picked pace in February despite the government announcing a raft of measures to temper speculative demand, data showed on Saturday.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 13.36 points or 0.41 percent to 3,250.81, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 192 points or 0.79 percent at 24,501 in late trade. Japanese markets were closed for the Vernal Equinox holiday.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 20.70 points or 0.36 percent to end at 5,778.90, while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 20.30 points or 0.35 percent lower at 5,820.50.
Miners and energy stocks paced decliners, with Rio Tinto, Evolution Mining and Santos losing 1-3 percent. Banks also closed mostly lower, with ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac declining between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent.
Online jobs portal SEEK advanced 1.5 percent after the company said it would pay A$119 million to boost its stake in online tertiary education provider Online Education Services to 80 percent.
Seoul shares fell on profit taking as foreign investors turned net sellers after a 10-day buying spree. The benchmark Kospi closed down 7.57 points or 0.35 percent at 2,157.01 after hitting its highest level in nearly two years last week. The local currency hit a five-month high as the dollar stayed on the defensive in international markets.
South Korea's producer price inflation accelerated in February, preliminary figures from the Bank of Korea showed today. The producer price index climbed 4.2 percent year-over-year in February, faster than the 3.9 percent increase in the previous month.
New Zealand shares fell sharply after Fletcher Building cut its full-year earnings guidance by about $110 million, citing problems with two major projects. While Fletcher shares plunged 10.20 percent to $8.28, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 101.09 points or 1.41 percent to finish at 7,057.05.
India's Sensex was declining half a percent as a rising rupee pulled down IT stocks. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down 0.3 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was moving down 0.4 percent, while Malaysia's KLSE Composite was rising 0.2 percent and the Taiwan Weighted closed marginally higher.
U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Friday as shares of healthcare companies and utilities lost ground, offsetting gains in the financial sector as economic reports on industrial output and consumer sentiment painted a largely positive picture of the economy.
The Dow and the S&P 500 slipped around 0.1 percent while the Nasdaq Composite ended little changed with a positive bias.
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