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Absence of clues from Jackson Hole pressures Asia stocks

Absence of clues from Jackson Hole pressures Asia stocks

Most Asian stocks were down on Monday in late morning session after US and European central bankers didn’t provide fresh policy guidance, though Hong Kong stocks outperformed on strong corporate earnings.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.08%. Across the Korean strait, the Kospi slid 0.46% as tech stocks weighed on the market.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was pressured, with the heavily-weighted financials sub-index falling 1.01%. The broader index declined 0.7% as reporting season draws to a close this week.

Greater China markets shrugged off the negative trend to climb higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.56% in early trade, lifted by robust first-half results at some blue-chip firms. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.86% and the Shenzhen Composite added 0.82%.

While Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen did not provide any clues on monetary policy outlook in her speech at a central banking meeting in Jackson Hole, she argued that reforms implemented post-financial crisis have "made the system safer."

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi stayed mum on the future of monetary policy in the euro zone in his Friday speech.

On the geopolitical front, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles over the weekend and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that the US will continue to push for negotiations to deescalate nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula despite the “provocative” acts.

In company news, Apple components supplier AAC Technologies surged 10.3% after reporting on a 57% year-over-year rise in first-half results.

Financial stocks across the region came under pressure. In Australia, the country’s major banks, including Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac WBC and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group were down between 0.8% and 1.8%.

In currency news, the yen advanced 0.2% to 109.17 per dollar, extending gains from Friday. The euro was trading at $1.1923 after touching $1.1965, the highest since 6 January 2015.

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