Asian shares mixed in holiday thinned trade, ASX down a tad


Shutterstock photo - - Asian shares traded mixed early Monday, with Japan and Australia starting the week near the break-even mark.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was up less than 0.1% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3%.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's KOSPI added 0.4% as the market extended gains from last week after the government announcement of a stimulus package.

The region was also taking pause after a number of markets reached their highest levels in years. Last week, Hong Kong and Australian stocks hit multiyear highs and Japan ended the week at its highest level in six months. In particular, upbeat economic data from China has supported gains in stocks.

In Japan, Isuzu Motors, Ltd. (TOKYO:7202) jumped 3.3% after a Nikkei report that the firm's group operating profit likely amounted to ¥38 billion for the April to June period, compared with consensus expectations for ¥32 billion.

Markets in many parts of Southeast Asia are closed to mark the Eid holiday.

Additionally, there no major releases scheduled in the region's major economies such as Japan and China, pointing to the likelihood of a very
quiet day ahead.

Last week, the Dow 30 fell 0.72%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.48%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.50%.

The Pentagon said earlier that Russia may be set to provide more sophisticated weapons to Ukrainian separatists, which spooked investors.

Israel, meanwhile, rejected calls for a ceasefire and continued its ground offensive in Gaza, with reports that Israel's defense ministry may widen the campaign rattling nerves even further, offsetting otherwise positive economic indicators.

The Census Bureau reported earlier that U.S. durable goods orders rose 0.7% in June, beating expectations for a 0.5% gain, after declining of 1% in May, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 0.9% contraction.

Core durable goods orders, which are stripped of transportation items, grew 0.8% in June, beating expectations for a 0.6% gain, after a 0.1% downtick in May, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated flat reading.

In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on Wednesday's revised reading on U.S. second quarter growth, while Friday's nonfarm payrolls report will also be in focus.

Wednesday's Fed statement will also be closely watched for any indications that the central bank is moving closer to raising rates.

On Monday, the U.S. is to release data on pending home sales. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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