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Asian shares mixed with focus on Russia-Ukraine, earnings

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Shutterstock photo - - Asian shares were mixed Monday with geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and earnings regionally in focus.

The Nikkei 225 was flat, after Japanese stocks performed the best in the region last week.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.2% after a weak reading on Chinese housing data. Excluding public housing, private sector home prices fell in 64 of 70 Chinese cities in July, up from the 55 cities that posted declines in June. On the mainland, investors were less phased with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.6%

Elsewhere, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was unchanged with Automotive Holdings Group Ltd (ASX:AHE) down 0.3% on expectations the company's refrigerator logistics business could prove a drag on near-term earnings.

South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.3%. Hyundai Motor (KS:005380) fell 0.4%, after its unionized workers voted to strike sometime this week.

At the weekend, Germany's top diplomat on Sunday brought together his Russian, Ukrainian and French counterparts "to attempt to make steps toward making a cease-fire possible" in eastern Ukraine, although the minister damped hopes of a breakthrough from the meeting at a Berlin lakeside retreat.

Ukraine said it destroyed armored vehicles that had been seen entering the country from Russia on Friday.

Discussions will focus on ending the violence in Ukraine, Steinmeier said, rather than debating Moscow's plan to send what it says is humanitarian aid to the rebel-held territories in the region.

Last week, U.S. stocks finished mixed after the fresh flare up in the Russia-Ukraine conflict spooked investors, though bottom fishing took equities indices off earlier lows.

The Dow 30 fell 0.30%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.01%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.27%.

Mixed data kept stocks prices largely in negative territory, though bottom fishing brought tech stocks in particular back into positive territory.

The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index ticked down to a nine-month low of 79.2 in August from 81.8 in July. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 82.5 this month.

Separately, the New York Federal Reserve said that its Empire State manufacturing index fell to a four-month low of 14.69 this month from 25.60 in July, worse than expectations for a decline to 20.0.

Data also showed that U.S. producer price inflation rose 0.1% on year last month, in line with expectations, after a 0.4% increase in June.

Core producer price inflation, which excludes food, energy and trade, rose 0.2% in July, in line with market projections, and after a 0.2% gain the previous month.

A separate report showed that U.S. industrial production rose 0.4% in July, beating expectations for a 0.3% gain.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday's minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting, while the Bank of England and the Reserve Bank of Australia are also to publish meeting minutes. Thursday's data on euro zone private sector activity will also be in focus.

Investors will also be anticipating an annual meeting of top central bank officials and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from August 21 to 23.

The spotlight will be on Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who will speak on Friday in her first appearance at Jackson Hole as head of the U.S. central bank.

On Monday, the U.S. is to produce private sector data on the housing market. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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