Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed after US lead, ECB tests; Shanghai at 8-week low

Asian shares were mixed on Monday following results from the European Central Bank's stress tests and gains on Wall Street last week.

A key health check of the euro zone's financial system showed that 25 of 130 banks failed the stress tests, which analysts said was better-than-expected. 12 out of those 25 lenders have already raised 15 billion euros this year to repair their finances.

"Overall, the market seems to have found this report quite credible and given the ECB is already engaging in recapitalization activities and other measures, then perhaps investors will remain at ease," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in a note.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, with Wall Street derailing a four-week slide with its best week this year, following strong quarterly earnings from Microsoft.

The overall market mood is expected to be cautious ahead of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting beginning Tuesday. Speculation is high whether the central bank will announce an end to its bond-buying program and remove the phrase 'considerable period,' a timeline reference for a rate hike, in its statement.

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"We expect a $15 billion taper to end quantitative easing and little change in rhetoric. The former is premised on sustained labor market gains. As for a change in language, it may be more effective to clarify at the post-FOMC presser in December," said economists at Mizuho Bank in a report.

Nikkei adds 0.6%

Japan's benchmark Nikkei rose to a new two-week high for the second straight session as the yen hit a near three-week low against the dollar and a more than two-week low against the euro.

Panasonic tacked on 1.2 percent on news it is transferring its unprofitable American TV unit, Sanyo Television, to Funai Electric of Japan.

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Tokyo Electric Power ended 17 percent higher after the Nikkei reported that the firm may post a pre-tax profit of 125 billion yen for the year through March, up from 43.2 billion last fiscal year

China markets lower

Mainland shares eased 0.5 percent, ending at its lowest levels since September 2 and extending losses into a sixth straight session. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index tumbled nearly 1 percent.

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China Vanke lost 3.5 percent after reporting that its gross margins fell 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier in the third-quarter. The news sparked sector-wide losses with China Merchants Property also down over 3 percent.

Brokerages declined on news that a landmark stock trading agreement between Hong Kong and Shanghai was delayed; CITIC Securities lost nearly 3 percent and Hong Yuan Securities tanked 4 percent in Shanghai.

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ASX 0.7% higher

Australia's benchmark finished at its highest levels since September 15, underpinned by a rally amid financials.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia jumped 1.6 percent while Macquarie, Westpac and Australia New Zealand Banking rose 1 percent each.

CSL rose 0.8 percent after announcing it was buying Novartis' influenza unit for $275 million.

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Kospi up 0.3%

South Korean shares rebounded following Friday's modest losses with shares of the Samsung group in focus. Samsung Heavy Industries and Samsung Engineering surged over 7 percent after shareholders approved a merger between the two firms.

Nifty up 0.2%

Indian shares resumed trade higher after being shut on Thursday and Friday for public holidays. Defense stocks rallied on media reports that the government cleared $13 billion worth of defense projects.