Japan's shares slid even as markets in Australia, South Korea and China gained on Monday as traders digested Friday's better-than-expected U.S. non-farm payroll and China's new economic targets announced at the National People's Congress (NPC) over the weekend.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 103.46 points, or 0.61 percent, at 16,911.32, while the Topix fell 13.45 points, or 0.98 percent, to 1,361.90. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi finished up 2.24 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,957.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed near flat at 20,159.72 points, after wavering between gains and losses throughout the session.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 52.78 points, or 1.04 percent, at 5,142.81, boosted by gains in the energy, materials and heavily-weighted financials sectors. The sectors were up 2.2, 3.08 and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said in his morning note that while the strong non-farm payroll data in the U.S. might suggest another Federal Reserve rate hike, the weak wage data suggests that the Fed will not rush its tightening cycle.
"For now, the focus on Fed push-back of further tightening may be justifiably buying some relief for broader risk markets. But relief is a fleeting driver of trades," he said. "Improved global condition, and critically China's backstop on growth slowdown, are imperative. The NPC provided some guidance, but no immediate panacea."
China's new economic targets for 2016, released on Saturday at the National People's Congress (NPC) meeting, included a revised growth target of between 6.5 and 7 percent, a consumer price index growth target of around 3 percent and a budget deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Reuters reported.