Asian Shares Decline Amid Tensions On Lebanon Border

Asian stocks were seeing modest losses on Monday as investors kept a wary eye on the situation in the Middle East and braced for key economic data and central bank meetings due this week.

Israel expanded military operations in Gaza over the weekend, raising concerns about global economic instability.

On Sunday, Hezbollah in Lebanon said that it had successfully downed an Israeli drone in southern Lebanon using a surface-to-air missile.

The dollar inched higher in cautious trade and gold hovered above the $2,000 mark while oil prices slipped after ending 3 percent higher on Friday.

China’s Shanghai Composite index was down slightly as investors await cues from Chinese manufacturing data and the Federal Reserve meeting. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.2 percent to 17,358.

Japan’s Nikkei average was down 1.3 percent at 30,597 as new poll surveys showed dwindling support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida despite the announcement of tax rebates and handouts to help ease the impact of inflation.

The Bank of Japan begins its two-day monetary policy meeting today amid heightened speculation over a policy tweak.

Seoul stocks were seeing modest gains, with the Kospi average rising 0.3 percent to 2,310.42. Asiana Airlines soared 13 percent ahead of a board meeting to decide on a merger with Korean Air.

Australia’s benchmark S&P ASX 200 dropped 0.4 percent, with financial and energy stocks retreating. Investors ignored data showing that Australia’s retail sales rose at a solid pace in September.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 index was down half a percent.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday but notched weekly losses on fears of a recession and interest rates staying higher for longer.

The Dow fell 1.1 percent to hit a seven-month low and the S&P 500 dropped half a percent to reach a five-month closing low after data showed both inflation and consumer spending rose in September.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.4 percent after Amazon trounced analysts’ expectations for Q3 revenue and earnings.

European stocks closed lower on Friday amid concerns about the earnings and growth outlook.

The pan European STOXX 600 dropped 0.8 percent. The German DAX eased 0.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 shed 1.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.9 percent.

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