Japan’s Nikkei lost 1% to 15320.31 as the local earnings season, which had supported stocks in recent seasons, began to wrap up. Traders were also cautious ahead of further measures by the U.S. central bank to wind down stimulus measures in the world’s largest economy over the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.4% to end at 5518.60 as the absence of any broad regional catalysts prompted a retreat from strong gains in July. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.7% to 2066.26, coming down from gains inspired by a stimulus package that was announced in late July. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.2% to 2219.95.
The region’s recent upward momentum was curbed by a selloff on Wall Street late last week, brought about by debt concerns in Argentina and Portugal. An overnight recovery in U.S. stocks failed to follow through into Asia.
Shares in Hong Kong bucked the regional trend. The Hang Seng Index added 0.2% to close at 24648.26, though the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 0.7% to 11009.84.
WH Group surged 7.4% on its trading debut after the pork producer raised $2.05 billion in an initial public offering. HSBC Holdings, the Hang Seng Index’s largest constituent, rose 1.8% after it reported a slight decline in first half profit due to high compliance costs. The results weren’t a surprise and the stock was catching up with the broader index. HSBC is down 2% this year, while the Hang Seng Index is up 5.4%.
Also in Hong Kong, Greentown China Holdings plunged 12.2% after the company said it expects first-half earnings to fall more than 65%–making it the latest Chinese property firm to post a profit warning.
In currencies, the yen was little changed at Yen102.58 to the dollar, compared with Yen102.57 late Monday in New York.