Asian stocks lower in quiet trade; Thailand sinks 2.8%
Asian equity markets were lower in quiet trade on Monday as investors awaited a raft of central bank meetings this week for further direction.
Thailand's SET index finished the session 2.8 percent lower as political tensions rise over an amnesty bill that could clear corruption charges against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"With the Fed meeting behind us, this week marks another heavy calendar. Besides the ECB meeting, the BOE and the RBA will be joining in the monetary policy decision bandwagon, with no major changes expected. We would also be expecting employment reports out of Australia, and most importantly U.S non-farm payrolls on Friday," said Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets.
Fed, US data in focus
Asian investors largely shrugged off comments from Dallas Federal Reserve president Richard Fisher on Monday. Speaking at a conference in Sydney on Monday, Fisher said a "fiscally irresponsible" U.S. government counteracted the effects of accommodative Fed policy. He also added that he didn't expect the central bank's bond-buying program to increase or go on indefinitely.
(Read more: Could QE spur deflation, not inflation?)
Meanwhile, Wall Street stocks rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 posting a fourth weekly gain following a better-than-anticipated manufacturing report. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index came in at 56.4 in October, beating estimates for a drop to 55.0 from 56.2 in September.
China's benchmark index traded in a narrow 17-point range even as improving activity in the services sector fueled optimism ahead of a highly anticipated Plenum meeting this Saturday.
Real-estate developers fell after the China Securities Journal reported that a property bubble poses danger to the economy and urged property controls to be combined with land and tax policy reform. Vanke led losses by over 2 percent while Poly Real Estate and China Merchants Property declined over 1 percent each.
(Read more: Will China's plenum dazzle or disappoint?)
Banks were lower despite China's banking regulator pledging to take more action in handling bad loans. China Merchants Bank and Shanghai Pudong fell over 1 percent each.
Kospi slips 0.7%
South Korea's benchmark index ended at its lowest level since October 14 as foreigners offloaded the most amount of shares in over three months.
Woori Finance lost over 1 percent after announcing that its July-September operating profits declined an annual 77.5 percent.
KT Corp, South Korea's second-biggest mobile carrier, skidded over 2 percent after CEO Lee Suk-chae resigned on Sunday following media reports of breach on trust charges.
Sydney down 0.4%
Earnings were in focus for Australian investors after Westpac's full-year cash earnings rose 8 percent, marking a fourth straight year of record profits. But shares lost over 1 percent.
Coca Cola Amatil lost nearly 5 percent after warning that earnings before interest and tax through December would fall 5 to 7 percent below last year's figure.
Retailers rallied after September retail sales rose 0.8 percent from August, beating Reuters estimates. David Jones climbed 4.5 percent while Myer increased over 2 percent.
Attention turned to the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) policy decision on Tuesday. Analysts widely expect the central bank to remain on hold with a wait-and see-approach going forward.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC