Asian Shares End On Flat Note Ahead Of New US-China Trade Talks


Asian stocks closed Monday's session on a lackluster note after U.S. President Donald Trump announced an agreement to temporarily end the record-setting 35-day-old government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall.

Investors looked ahead to the next round of U.S.-China trade talks as well as the next key Brexit debate in the House of Commons for further direction.

U.S.-China trade talks will resume in Washington this week, with markets hoping for a thaw in the escalating tensions after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries were "making a lot of progress" in trade talks.

Investors also shifted their attention to the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day meeting starting Tuesday amid growing expectations of dovish hints from the U.S. central bank.

China's Shanghai Composite index eased 0.18 percent to finish at 2,596.98 amid reports that the Trump's administration has been pressuring America's allies to bar Huawei and other Chinese tech firms from building the infrastructure needed for the implementation of the next generation 5G wireless standard. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended marginally higher at 27,576.96.

Japanese shares fell as the yen strengthened and investors braced for earnings results from major U.S. tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft. The Nikkei average dropped 124.56 points or 0.60 percent to 20,649 while the broader Topix index closed 0.68 percent lower at 1,555.51.

Nissan Motor declined 0.8 percent as it faces SEC probe in the U.S. over executive pay. Honda and Toyota fell around 1 percent. Asahi Group Holdings lost over 2 percent after it agreed to acquire UK-based Fuller, Smith & Turner's brewing business for $330 million.

Auto electronics maker Pioneer fell 1.5 percent after it received shareholder nod for capital injection of about 102 billion yen from Hong Kong-based private equity fund Baring Private Equity Asia.

Sony gained 0.9 percent on a Nikkei report that the company is opening development centers for image sensors in the U.S. and Europe.

Seoul stocks ended on a flat note as investors waited for cues from a crucial Federal Reserve meeting and another round of U.S.-China trade talks.

Shipbuilders surged after Qatar's energy minister outlined plans to order 60 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. Hyundai Heavy Industries rallied 2.5 percent, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering jumped over 4 percent and Samsung Heavy Industries climbed 5 percent.

Tech shares came under selling pressure, with SK Hynix losing 3.8 percent and LG Electronics declining 2.6 percent.

Australian financial markets were shut for the 'Australia Day' holiday. New Zealand shares ended marginally higher in thin trade amid holidays in the commercial hub Auckland and neighboring Australia. Consumer staple and industrial stocks advanced while healthcare stocks declined.

U.S. stocks surged on Friday as upbeat earnings reports offset growth worries and President Donald Trump announced an agreement to end the record-setting government shutdown.

The Dow rose 0.8 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.3 percent to close at their best levels in well over a month while the S&P 500 added 0.9 percent.