Asian stocks ended mixed Monday, as the mining sector lifted shares in Australia and in Shanghai, but profit-taking weighed on Hong Kong's index.
Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holiday.
Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 0.2% lower at 26183.95, as profit-taking from the index's recent rise more than offset gains by property developers.
The property sub-index rose 1% to 33492.28, benefiting from the low-interest rate environment. Local developer Sun Hung Kai Properties /zigman2/quotes/209086152/delayed HK:16 -0.15% gained 1.3%, New World Development /zigman2/quotes/202357413/delayed HK:17 -2.75% rose 1.2% and Cheung Kong /zigman2/quotes/208405501/delayed HK:1 +1.18% advanced 1.7%. China Overseas Land /zigman2/quotes/205731176/delayed HK:688 -1.20% rose 0.5%.
Expectations of a pause in China's reserve-ratio increases, coupled with a buoyant equities market there also pushed up Chinese financial firms on the local market. Bank of Communications /zigman2/quotes/203442771/delayed HK:3328 -1.94% rose 0.4% and China Life /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 -3.74% , the nation's largest life insurer by assets, gained 0.6%. Chinese department-store operator Maoye /zigman2/quotes/203687009/delayed HK:848 -2.56% made a lackluster trading debut on continued poor reception toward new listings. It fell 2% below its initial offering price.
In mainland trading, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both Class A and Class B shares, ended up 1.8% at 3761.01 as concerns about macroeconomic tightening measures eased and bargain-hunting lifted stocks.
Investors were hopeful that policymakers would hold off on more tightening measures, as speculation on the April inflation data pointed to easing inflation pressure. "Funds are gradually building up their positions, as a slower rise in the CPI means a decreasing possibility of an imminent interest-rate cut," said Simon Wang, a strategist at Xiangcai Securities.
The market didn't react much to news that China's securities regulator would allow domestic asset management firms to set up units in Hong Kong.
Gold miners and airlines, which fell sharply in recent months in line with the general market trend, ended sharply higher on bargain-hunting. Shandong Gold Mining hit the 10% upside limit and Zhongjin Gold also surged by 10%. Among airlines, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines both hit the 10% upside limit.
Elsewhere, mining stocks led Australia's S&P/ASX 200 0.5% higher to close at 5730.3. Higher gold, copper, zinc, aluminum and oil prices boosted the mining and oil sectors. BHP Billiton rose 1.2% and rival Rio Tinto advanced 0.5%. Two smaller iron-ore miners also picked up gains, with Gindalbie Metals rising 16.8% while Sundance Resources climbed 22.7%. A rise in oil prices boosted Woodside Petroleum 3.9%. Oil Search gained 3.4% and Santos advanced 4.6%.
Among bank shares, ANZ Banking Group rose 1.7%, in part on news that debtor Tricom will be bailed out by Danish online-investment and trading lender Saxo Bank. Babcock & Brown, another creditor of Tricom, ended up 3.3%. Westpac Banking picked up 0.5% and National Australia Bank gained 0.2%
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