Asian Shares Move Mostly Lower But Nikkei Hits New High

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday, with China recovery concerns and uncertainty over the timing of interest rate cuts in the U.S. keeping underlying sentiment cautious.

Gold prices were off two-week highs as the dollar ticked higher ahead of a slew of U.S. economic data due this week, including the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said in an interview published Friday that the economy is headed in the right direction and interest rate cuts would likely happen "later this year."

Crude prices extended losses from the previous session on worries about global demand.

Chinese markets fell sharply after having risen for nine straight sessions in the wake of targeted measures to support sagging markets.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.9 percent to 2,977.02 after eleven Chinese companies lost their credit ratings Friday at Moody's Investors Service.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended 0.5 percent lower at 16,634.74 ahead of Chinese manufacturing data due this week.

Japanese markets hit a new high after two of Wall Street's three major indices edged up to new record closing highs on Friday.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.4 percent to 39,233.71, while the broader Topix Index settled 0.5 percent higher at 2,673.62.

Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. both rose about 1.5 percent after Warren Buffett endorsed Japanese trading firms in his annual shareholder letter.

Seoul stocks fell notably after authorities announced a reform plan for listed companies to improve management and corporate governance.

The Kospi slid 0.8 percent to 2,647.08 as the program aimed at boosting undervalued stocks fell short of market expectations. Hyundai Motor, Kia Corp. and KB Financial Group lost 2-5 percent.

Australian markets rose slightly as earnings proved to be a mixed bag. Energy firm Santos fell 5.3 percent on going ex-dividend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent to 7,652.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.1 percent higher at 7,908.10.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index finished marginally lower at 11,709.89 ahead of the RBNZ meeting on Wednesday.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as a slew of Fed officials expressed caution about cutting interest rates too quickly.

The Dow edged up 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 inched up marginally to reach new record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.3 percent.

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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