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Asian shares mostly higher in muted trading, but pandemic keeps optimism in check
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TOKYO — Asian shares were mostly higher in muted trading Monday, as worries about the pandemic kept optimism in check despite a rally that closed out last week on Wall Street.
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Investors growing wary over upcoming earnings reports have been cashing in recent gains, helping pull Japanese shares lower. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to finish at 23,558.69. Big exporters logged some of the largest losses, with Toyota Motor Corp. falling 0.8% and Honda Motor Co. shedding 1.8%.
Japan reported core private sector machinery orders edged 0.2% higher in August, contrary to forecasts for a decline. But overall, economic indicators remain weak.
JAPAN'S SERVICES SECTOR MARKET CONTRACTED FOR EIGHTH-STRAIGHT MONTH IN SEPTEMBER
Other regional benchmarks were rising. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5% to 2,403.12. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 6,132.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2.2% to 24,654.77, while the Shanghai Composite added 2.4% to 3,350.22.
“While U.S. politics remain center stage, a string of Asia releases and monetary policy meeting decisions will be watched this week,” said Jingyi Pan, senior market strategist at IG in Singapore, referring to central bank meetings in South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.
Indicators out of China, such as trade and inflation readings, also remain on investors' minds.