Stocks in Tokyo came under pressure on Monday after negative cues from Wall Street while investors turned cautious as the earnings season kicks off.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 141 points or 0.98% at 14,288 while the broader Topic closed down nine points at 1,160. The Hang Seng lost 91 points at 22,132.
There was also some caution ahead of key economic data including China manufacturing data April, due out Thursday. In the US, the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting will conclude on Wednesday while Friday will see the release of monthly US labour data.
Markets were also reacting to Japanese retail sales data which showed that growth came in at a 17-year high in March as shoppers rushed to stores ahead of the planned increase in the national sales tax which began at the start of April.
Sales rose at an annual rate of 11% last month, up from 3.6% the month before and in line with forecasts. However, analysts are now concerned that the strong sales growth acceleration in March will lead to a decline in consumer spending in April.
In earnings news, car giant Honda Motor tumbled 4.5% after it gave a disappointing earnings outlook on Friday. It expects full-year net profit to come in well below forecasts at ¥595bn. Peer Mazda Motor fell ahead of its results, due out on Friday.
Elsewhere shares of Japan Display sank 16% after it reduced its earnings outlook by 15% only a month after its initial public offering.
Meanwhile nerves about escalating tensions in Ukraine drove demand for the yen, sending a string of Japanese exporters lower.
A sell-off among US tech stocks on Friday rippled into Monday’s session in Hong Kong with shares of internet heavyweight Tencent dragging a further 2.6% on the market.
Among financials, Construction Bank shrugged off an otherwise lacklustre session, after it said first-quarter net profit climbed 10% from the same time a year earlier following growth in fees and commissions.
However Hong Kong real estate stocks were friendless with shares of Evergrade Real Estate off 2.3% while Agile Property lost 2%.
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