Asian bourses were all in red at the start of the week, Monday, following some lacklustre economic reports from China and as traders awaited a speech by Bank of Japan governor.
Japan's Nikkei tumbled the most, down 2.2% as the yen grew stronger against the greenback, hurting earnings outlook of the country's export-oriented firms.
Official data released on Friday showed that profits of Chinese industrial firms increased 6.3% in June, which is starkly lower than a gain of 15.5% in May.
Meanwhile, governor Haruhiko Kuroda is due to deliver a speech at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time and investors were trading cautiously ahead of the event; although speculations were rife the governor would take cues from his U.S. counterpart chairman Ben Bernanke of Federal Reserve and deliver some comforting words to soothe investor anxiety pertaining to stimulus measures.
Stocks on the Move
Earnings were in focus in Tokyo as a host of companies geared up to post latest results this week.
Toyota Motor Corp. lost 3.1%,. Honda Motor Corp. erased 2.5% and Sharp Corp. gave up 2.9% ahead of their respective results later this week.
Others reporting today included Daiwa Securities (-3.9%), Kobe Steel (+1.4%) and Komatsu Ltd. (-3.5%).
Most other exporters as well as power utilities and retailers were also trading with sharp losses ahead of the BOJ governor's speech and on the back of a stronger yen.
In Hong Kong, resources stocks underwent sharp cuts. Angang Steel plunged 5.8%, Zijin Mining Group lost 2.3% while oil giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. retreated 2.1%. CNOOC dropped 2% and PetroChina Co. slipped over 1%.
Property developers were also on the losers' side despite news China's securities regulator is seeking ways to loosen restrictions on property developer's fund-raising.
China Resources Land slumped over 3% while Poly Property Group Co. and China Overseas Land & Investment erased around 1.5% each.
On the mainland, Shanghai-listed Gemdale Corp. pulled back over 3% while Poly Real Estate Group tumbled over 4%. China Vanke was trading 3.3% lower in Shenzhen.
In Mumbai, stocks opened lower following weak overseas cues and as traders took positions ahead of the central bank's monetary policy review tomorrow.
FMCG players, metal firms, auto makers and banks were among the top losers. Hindustan Unilever plunged 4.9%, followed by ITC, down 2.5%. Hindalco Industries, Sterlite Industries, Maruti Suzuki and HDFC Bank erased around 2% to 2.5%.
In Sydney, stocks opened higher with banks leading the charge but weakness across other sectors offset these gains.
National Australia Bank was up 0.6%, Westpac Banking gained 1% while ANZ edged up 0.2%.
Among others, mining stocks were mixed. BHP Billiton slipped 0.5%, Rio Tinto was little changed but Fortescue Metals Group added 0.4%.