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Asia stocks mixed as investors continue watching Ukraine crisis; China holds steady on benchmark lending rate

KEY POINTS
  • Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Monday.
  • Fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine likely continued weighing on investor sentiment.
  • China on Monday held steady on a benchmark lending rate, with the one-year loan prime rate kept unchanged at 3.7%. All 24 financial institutions in a snap Reuters poll predicted no change in the one-year LPR.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Monday, as investors continued to watch the situation surrounding Ukraine. Meanwhile, China left a benchmark lending rate unchanged.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 2% momentarily in morning trade before retracing some of those losses, eventually ending the trading day 0.78% lower at 26,910.87 while the Topix index shed 0.71% to 1,910.68. South Korea’s Kospi closed mildly lower at 2,743.80.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed little changed, the Shanghai composite largely flat at 3,490.61 while the Shenzhen component climbed fractionally to 13,471.16. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined about 0.8%, as of its final hour of trading.

China on Monday held steady on a benchmark lending rate, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) kept unchanged at 3.7%. That was in line with predictions from all 24 financial institutions in a snap Reuters poll.

The five-year LPR was also kept unchanged at 4.6%.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.16% higher at 7,233.60. The Straits Times index in Singapore also advanced 0.17%, as of 3:15 p.m. local time.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.3%.

Investor sentiment in the region may have improved after U.S. President Joe Biden accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Moscow has not invaded Ukraine.

Concerns of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine have kept investors on edge, with Biden saying Friday the U.S. believes Putin has decided to carry out an attack on Ukraine “in the coming days.”

Markets in the U.S. are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.788 after seeing an earlier high of 96.151.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.99 per dollar after strengthening to around 114.8 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7217, against an earlier low of $0.7159.

Oil prices struggled for direction in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.17% to $93.38 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were flat at $91.07 per barrel.

TICKER COMPANY NAME PRICE CHANGE %CHANGE
.N225 Nikkei 225 Index *NIKKEI 26910.87 -211.2 -0.78
.HSI Hang Seng Index *HSI 24153.15 -174.56 -0.72
.AXJO S&P/ASX 200 *ASX 200 7233.6 11.9 0.16
.SSEC Shanghai *SHANGHAI 3490.61 -0.14 0
.KS11 KOSPI Index *KOSPI 2743.8 -0.72 -0.03
.FTFCNBCA CNBC 100 ASIA IDX *CNBC 100 9721.04 -68.81 -0.7

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