Asia’s benchmark stock index headed for its first monthly decline since April, with the gauge little changed today as telecommunication shares advanced while material shares slid.
SoftBank Corp. (9984) climbed 1.8 percent in Tokyo, providing the biggest boost to the regional index. National Australia Bank Ltd., the nation’s largest lender by assets, gained 1.2 percent after saying it plans to sell its U.S. unit to free up capital and focus on its domestic business. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. fell 1.6 percent in Sydney after a gauge of iron-ore prices declined to an almost two-year low.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) lost less than 0.1 percent to 148.20 as of 9:35 a.m. in Tokyo, before markets open in Hong Kong and China. The gauge is set for a 0.4 percent drop this month and a 0.2 percent weekly slide. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated back below 2,000 yesterday as violence in Ukraine and disappointing retail earnings outweighed data showing the U.S. economy expanded more than previously estimated last quarter.