HSBC analysts said domestic investors were also wary about additional shares flooding the market. The lockup period for a large number of shares will expire in December, bringing the total value of newly floatable shares eligible on ChinNext to 16.4 billion yuan ($2.6 billion), according to HSBC.
Banks were among the weak spots in Shanghai trading Monday, with China Merchants Bank Co. /zigman2/quotes/210188047/delayed CN:600036 -1.22% /zigman2/quotes/208876947/composite CIHKY -0.56% down 1.1% and Bank of Communications Co. /zigman2/quotes/207155262/delayed CN:601328 -0.21% /zigman2/quotes/202128064/composite BCMXY -0.07% off 0.5%.
Chinese property firms saw an early rally, helped by separate statistics showing the average housing price in 100 Chinese cities accelerated their gains in November. Read: China housing-price gains accelerate, data show
Some property shares held those gains, with Agile Property Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/210448079/delayed HK:3383 -0.99% /zigman2/quotes/200754284/composite AGPYY +16.31% up 0.4%, and Hong Kong’s Wharf Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202854264/delayed HK:4 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/209480994/composite WARFF -15.61% adding 0.4%.
But other names saw the early advance disappear, with China Resources Land Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 +1.47% /zigman2/quotes/201656413/composite CRBJF +5.10% trading 2.7% lower, swinging from a 2.9% gain early in the day.
In mainland trading, the real-estate rally proved more durable, with China Vanke Co. /zigman2/quotes/205643772/delayed CN:000002 -0.38% rising 0.6% in Shenzhen, and Gemdale Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208026094/delayed CN:600383 -0.99% up 2.3% and Poly Real Estate Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/201864015/delayed CN:600048 -0.18% climbing 2.4% in Shanghai.
Back in Hong Kong, top-weighted Hang Seng Index component HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 -0.98% /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA -3.74% was down 0.6% in Hong Kong after its plan to buy Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC’s Indian assets collapsed.
But shares of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203532437/delayed HK:293 -2.89% /zigman2/quotes/208114856/composite CPCAY -1.76% lost 1.6% as CNBC reported that the airline’s staff was unhappy with the size of a planned salary increase, with labor action a possibility.
Despite gloom on the Chinese mainland, the tone of the Hong Kong market remained “quite firm,” said Kwong.
“If there is progress on the fiscal cliff, then overseas markets will grind up, and that’s positive for Hong Kong,” he said, adding that the Hong Kong market had seen recent fund inflows from offshore investors.
In Tokyo, Japanese industrial firms with exposure to China were among the advancers.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. /zigman2/quotes/205375504/delayed JP:6305 +1.77% /zigman2/quotes/202415695/composite HTCMY +2.91% — which saw almost 10% of its fiscal first-half sales derived from China — moved 1.6% higher. Japan Steel Works Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207991538/delayed JP:5631 +2.11% /zigman2/quotes/208520473/composite JPSWY +2.47% advanced 1.3%. and Sumitomo Heavy industries Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201770175/delayed JP:6302 +0.44% /zigman2/quotes/201065179/composite SOHVY +5.45% rallied 3.5%.
Technology firms likewise gained ground in Japan, as the yen extended its recent downward march, sending the dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0337% and euro /zigman2/quotes/210561215/realtime/sampled EURJPY +0.3278% near their highest levels against the currency since April.
Renesas Electronics Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203872935/delayed JP:6723 +4.66% /zigman2/quotes/201351352/composite RNECY +4.19% rose 0.7%, Canon Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207639533/delayed JP:7751 +0.75% /zigman2/quotes/210242912/composite CAJ +0.17% climbed 2.7%, and Panasonic Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed JP:6752 -0.65% advanced 0.7%.
Tech firms gained in South Korea, along with autos. Samsung Electronics Co. /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -0.51% /zigman2/quotes/202367843/composite SSNLF 0.00% rose 1.7%, while Kia Motors Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206019389/delayed KR:000270 -0.77% /zigman2/quotes/205439169/composite KIMTF +8.21% climbed 1.1%, and Hyundai Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/206684590/delayed KR:005380 -1.16% /zigman2/quotes/204364212/composite HYMTF -2.68% advanced 1.3%.
In Australia, financials saw some buying, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205482049/delayed AU:ANZ -1.64% /zigman2/quotes/204542251/composite ANEWF +5.39% up 1.4%, and asset-manager AMP Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/206014407/delayed AU:AMP +10.87% /zigman2/quotes/206400018/composite AMLTF -5.67% trading 2.4% higher.
Stores in Sydney
Major department-store operators fell in Sydney, however, with David Jones Ltd. down 2% and Myer Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200987583/delayed AU:MYR +2.50% lower by 1.8%, after data showed that adjusted Australian retail sales for November were unchanged, missing consensus expectations for a 0.4% advance.
Resource firms were broadly lower across the region after a relatively poor session for metals on New York on Friday, with gold miners particularly weak. Newcrest Mining Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM +1.09% /zigman2/quotes/206026738/composite NCMGF +0.12% declined 1.5% in Sydney, and Zijin Mining Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/204517000/delayed HK:2899 -0.43% /zigman2/quotes/206594810/composite ZIJMY -10.83% falling 1% in Hong Kong.
Nomura Asia equity strategist Michael Kurtz holds a broadly upbeat stance on Asia stocks as the year-end approaches, saying that while “the U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’ is center-screen ... looking past it, U.S. and Chinese demand are on a vital upswing.”
Kurtz says that “a number of political and economic clouds that darkened the investment landscape during much of 2012 have begun to clear,” and that this development opens the way “for a less tortuous upward path for stocks for much of 2013” in Asia.
Mainland-listed liquor shares fell sharply as the sector became the latest focus of product-safety concerns
Shenzhen-listed Luzhou Lao Jiao Co. /zigman2/quotes/200167985/delayed CN:000568 +0.25% tumbled 7.5%.