Japan Leads Asian Equities Lower

Asian markets mostly moved lower on Monday with Japan leading the region down, as a stronger yen and the unrest in Ukraine weighed on sentiment in Tokyo.

The Nikkei lost 1.1% as the yen strengthened closer to the Yen102 to the dollar mark. The dollar was last at Yen102.14, compared with Yen102.19 late Friday night in New York, with the safe haven currency firming up as U.S. and European governments planned to ramp up sanctions against Russia as early as Monday. The move comes as pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine on Sunday paraded Western military observers as hostages.

Also weighing on sentiment in Japan was a disappointing earnings report from Japan’s second-largest car company, with Honda Motor Co. losing 4.8% after its earnings guidance missed expectations. The company said that it expects its net income to rise 3.6% this fiscal year, but it is much slower than the recently ended fiscal year, when its net income soared by 56%.  Elsewhere in Asia, markets stuck close to the break-even mark: Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was were up 0.1%, South Korea’s Kospi added 0.2%, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 0.3%.

WSJ

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