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.
"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.