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Asian Equities Close Mixed as Japanese Market Close for Holiday

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday after U.S lawmakers managed to end a brief government shutdown with a bill raising spending caps and funding the government until March 23rd. Underlying sentiment remained supported somewhat as oil prices rebounded following six straight days of declines. The Japanese market was closed for the National Foundation Day holiday.

Chinese shares rose after taking a beating last week. China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 23.71 points or 0.8 percent to 3,153.56, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 47.79 points or 0.2 percent to 29,459.63.

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Australian shares closed a tad lower as investors waited for U.S. inflation data for clues to whether the Federal Reserve will continue raising interest rates.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 17.30 points or 0.3 percent at 5,820.70, dragged down by financial and energy companies. The broader All Ordinaries index also slid 0.3 percent to close at 5,919.70.

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Woodside Petroleum and Santos fell modestly, while Beach Energy lost 2.5 percent after oil prices slid more than 3 percent on Friday to enter correction mode along with U.S. stocks.

The big four banks fell between half a percent and 0.8 percent as a government-backed probe into the financial services sector got underway.

JB Hi-fi shares slumped 8 percent. The electronics retailer posted solid first-half results but issued a lower than expected outlook for the rest of the year. Myer Holdings plummeted 6 percent.

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Miners bucked the weak trend, with heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rising about 1.5 percent each while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group advanced 2.4 percent.

Rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings rallied 2 percent as it reported a 52 percent increase in half-year profits.

Seoul stocks clawed back some of last week’s losses, helped by bargain hunting after Wall Street recovered on Friday. The benchmark Kospi climbed 21.61 points or 0.9 percent to 2,385.38.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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