Japan's Nikkei Falls More Than 2% as Investors Monitor Ukraine Tensions; Oil Rises Over 1%

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • Shares in Japan led losses regionally on Monday, with the Nikkei 225 dropping more than 2%.
  • Investors watched developments in Hong Kong Covid situation, as the city's medical capacity becomes reportedly stretched following a recent spike in infections.
  • Fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine led major indexes on Wall Street to plunge on Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite falling nearly 3%.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan led losses in Asia-Pacific on Monday as investors monitored developments from the Covid situation in Hong Kong to tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The Nikkei 225 dropped 2.23% to close at 27,079.59, with shares of conglomerate SoftBank Group falling nearly 4% while the Topix index shed 1.63% to 1,930.65. South Korea's Kospi declined 1.57% to end its trading day at 2,704.48.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dipped 1.35%, as of its final hour of trading. The city is currently facing a fifth wave of Covid infections, which its chief executive said has "dealt a heavy blow" to Hong Kong and "overwhelmed" its capacity to handle the situation. Over the weekend, Hong Kong's chief secretary announced that mainland China will assist the city in areas such as testing and quarantine facilities.

Stocks in mainland China closed in negative territory, with the Shanghai composite falling 0.98% to 3,428.88 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.765% to 13,123.21.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia climbed 0.37%, closing at 7,243.90.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 1.4%.

Developments surrounding Russia-Ukraine tensions continued to be monitored by investors. Fears of a Russia attack on Ukraine sent stocks on Wall Street plunging Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite falling nearly 3%.

Oil prices jump more than 1%

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures jumping 1.15% to $95.53 per barrel. U.S. crude futures surged 1.28% to $94.29 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.048 against an earlier low of 95.906.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.38 per dollar, having strengthened sharply from above 116 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7114, off levels above $0.72 seen last week.

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