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Asian Stocks Record slight Declines; Investors Focus on Political Developments

apan’s Nikkei 225 hovered around the flat line in the early going. Automakers were mixed: Toyota declined 0.66 percent while Mitsubishi Motors tacked on 1.04 percent. Technology stocks traded mostly higher, with Sony rising 1.09 percent and SoftBank Group advancing 0.71 percent.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.54 percent as index heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 2.11 percent in early trade. Other technology stocks also declined, with chipmaker SK Hynix declining 1.77 percent and LG Display slipping 0.49 percent.

The manufacturing, finance, and retail sectors traded lower for the most part, with steelmaker Posco losing 2.72 percent and Lotte Shopping edging lower by 0.43 percent.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 gave up gains seen earlier in the session to trade lower by 0.07 percent. The heavily-weighted financials sector declined 0.51 percent, weighing on the broader index. Shares of Commonwealth Bank sank 1.1 percent, underperforming other banking names in the morning.

National Australia Bank, another of the country’s “Big Four” banks, is reportedly considering spinning out its wealth arm for a potential listing, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing sources. NAB shares were lower by 0.41 percent.

Stateside, the U.S. government shutdown continued for a second day yet there were some signs of progress on Sunday, with Republicans appearing unified over plans to end the impasse with a temporary solution. Democrats, however, want an immigration agreement in place before they support a spending plan.

The shutdown in the U.S. looks set to dominate market attention this week. It is likely to result in plenty of noise, but no dramatic shifts in trends.

U.S. futures tracked lower on Monday, with Dow Jones industrial average futures last declining by 49 points. On Friday, stocks had closed in positive territory as earnings season rolled on.

 

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