HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly lower Monday following a negative lead from Wall Street, while tensions in Ukraine added to selling pressure.
Traders were awaiting the release later in the week of global manufacturing data as well as earnings reports from Japan, while the US Federal Reserve is also because of hold its latest policy meeting.
Tokyo slipped 0.98 percent, or 141.03 points, to 14,288.23, Seoul lost 0.12 percent, or 2.40 points, to close at 1,969.26 and Shanghai tumbled 1.62 percent, or 33.03 points, to 2,003.49. Hong Kong eased 0.41 percent, or 91.00 points, to 22,132.53
But Sydney ended a touch higher, adding 5.1 points to 5,536.1.
US shares sank on Friday, led by the tech-rich Nasdaq, after a disappointing earnings report from Amazon. The face-off in Ukraine also hurt buying sentiment.
The Dow fell 0.85 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.81 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 1.75 percent
Pro-Russian militants presented a captured team of international observers as “prisoners of war” in Ukraine Sunday, adding fuel to the crisis as US President Barack Obama warned Moscow against “provocation.”
Obama said Russia had “not lifted a finger” to implement a peace deal struck in Geneva on April 17 to ease the crisis. He added that Moscow faced “consequences, and those consequences will continue to grow.”
Obama and his Western allies are planning a new round of sanctions against Moscow that could be announced as early as Monday.
The escalating crisis saw Moscow last week order new military exercises on the border of Ukraine and warn of “consequences” after Kiev launched a deadly assault against pro-Kremlin rebels occupying a flashpoint town.
Manufacturing data on horizon
There are fears Moscow is planning to take over more Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine in a similar way to that which saw it absorb Crimea last month.
In currency trade the dollar fetched 102.21 yen from 102.19 yen in New York Friday.
The euro bought $1.3867 and 141.72 yen against $1.3832 and 141.36 yen.
Investors are watching this week’s release of April manufacturing activity data, hoping to see some signs of a pick-up in China after a preliminary report from HSBC pointed to a slight improvement.
In Washington the Fed will hold its two-day policy meeting. It is expected further to cut its stimulus program following a string of figures showing the world’s number one economy is improving.
Oil prices rose. New York’s West Texas Intermediate for June delivery was up 76 cents at $101.36 in afternoon trade, and Brent North Sea crude for June advanced 34 cents to $109.92.
Gold fetched $1,303.33 an ounce at 8 a.m. local time compared with $1,300.55 on Friday.