Asian shares mixed after MH17 losses

Asian shares mixed after MH17 losses

Asian markets were mixed on Monday, as bargain-buying was offset by lingering geopolitical concerns after the downing last week of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.

With traders still on edge after Thursday's tragedy, which the United States has said was caused by pro-Russian rebels, the dollar retreated against the safe-haven yen.

Sydney added 0.15%, or 8.2 points, to close at 5,539.9 and Seoul was marginally lower, dipping 0.92 points to 2,018.50.

Shanghai lost 0.22%, or 4.59 points, to end at 2,054.48 while in the afternoon Hong Kong was flat.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

With few catalysts to drive business, investors took the opportunity in early trade to pick up cheap shares after a broad sell-off on Friday in response to the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, which fanned already high tensions in battle-wracked Ukraine.

However, the early advances were pared by worries the months-long Ukraine crisis has moved into another, possibly more dangerous, phase.

With the United States accusing Moscow of involvement in the downing of MH17, Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to cooperate in an investigation into the tragedy, which took almost 300 lives Thursday.

Also dragging on sentiment was news of Israel's ground offensive in Gaza, fuelling concerns about the tinderbox region.

In New York on Friday the three main indexes bounced back from the previous day's falls, with bargain-buying backed up by strong earnings from Google.

The Dow rose 0.73%, the S&P 500 jumped 1.03% and the Nasdaq rallied 1.57%.

However, despite the equity advances investors were still buying into the lower-risk yen as a hedge against political uncertainty.

The dollar bought 101.21 yen against 101.36 yen on Friday in New York, while the euro fetched 137.05 yen compared with 137.12 yen.

The single currency was also at $1.3522 compared with $1.3525.

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery was down 21 cents at $102.92 in afternoon trade, a day before the contract expires. Brent crude for September rose six cents to $107.30.

Gold prices edged up to to $1,314.10 by 0700 GMT compared with $1,312.33 late Friday.

In other markets, Taipei added 0.43%, or 40.00 points, to 9,440.97. Hon Hai rose 2.79% to T$110.5 while smartphone maker HTC fell 1.43% to T$138.0.

Wellington rose 0.35%, or 17.97 points, to 5,126.90. Fletcher Building was up 0.11% at NZ$8.90 and Trade Me gained 0.85% to close at NZ$3.57.

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