Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed; Hang Seng Index at 2-month low on protests


Asian equity markets started the week mixed, with Hong Kong stocks tumbling on the back of escalating protests, while fresh signs of slowing growth in China weighed on overall sentiment.

Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests intensified over the weekend after riot police fired rounds of tear gas. Still, demonstrators continued to block roads on Monday, leading schools and banks in areas affected by the blockades to close.

Read MoreLive Blog: Hong Kong protests take dramatic turn

"Expectations are pretty widespread that the intensifying protests will be a catalyst for a further correction for Hong Kong stocks, which not so long ago was pushing new record highs above the 25,000 mark in the beginning of the month. Since then, a selloff has seen the Hang Seng Index drop over 6.4 percent to new two-month lows," said Ryan Huang, market strategist at IG.

Meanwhile, Chinese industrial profits fell in August by 0.6 percent from a year ago, a far cry from last month's 13.5 percent rise. The figures follow weak data earlier this month, factory output grew at its weakest pace in nearly six years in August, heightening expectations that Beijing's economy is in need of increased stimulus measures.

China markets mixed

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 2 percent, falling to its lowest level since July, as the central bank warned it will inject liquidity into the banking system if needed following the weekend's violent clashes.

Read MoreHong Kong protests explained

Real-estate developers and banks were the main laggards on the index. New World Development and Sino Land tumbled over 4 percent each. Amid lenders, Bank of China led losses by over 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.5 percent, ending at a new 18-month peak. Hospitality technology provider Beijing Shiji Information Technology rallied 10 percent after Alibaba bought a 15 percent stake in the firm.

Could pro-democracy protests harm Hong Kong?

Nikkei 0.5% higher

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index rebounded after closing down nearly 1 percent on Friday as the traded in sight of Friday's six-year low of 109.54 against the greenback.

SoftBank fell over 1 percent on news it's in talks to buy Hollywood studio Dreamworks Animation.

Retailer Aeon skidded nearly 2 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that its operating profit likely sank an annual 40 percent in the six months through August.

Read MoreMore China, Japan data on tap this week

ASX 1% lower

Australia's benchmark fell to its lowest levels since February, extending losses into a second session, while the Australian dollar hit an eight-month low below 87 U.S. cents.

Treasury Wine Estates lost 8.5 percent after it called off takeover talks with private equity firms.

Rare earths firm Lynas slumped more than 25 percent after announcing it is seeking to raise $72 million in new equity.

A strong recovery is unlikely in China: Expert

Kospi slips 0.2%

South Korean shares hovered around 2,030 points as declines in large-cap stocks overshadowed positive economic reports. Data before the market open showed the country's current account surplus rose a four-month high in August.

LG Electronics tanked over 3 percent while LG Display eased over 1 percent.

Read MoreIsIndia close to a ratings upgrade?

Nifty flat

Indian shares bounced between gains and losses in choppy trade on caution ahead of Tuesday's Reserve Bank of India meeting.