Asian stocks finished mostly lower Monday, taking a breather after four straight weeks of gains. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 2% higher and South Korea ended a touch stronger after spending most of the day in negative territory. Australia finished weaker. A public holiday in Japan kept the yen subdued. Markets there were closed for a holiday and will reopen Tuesday.
News last Friday that Britain's financial authorities had stepped in to rescue mortgage lender Northern Rock , which fell victim to the sharp rise in borrowing costs between banks, renewed worries about the credit market. But hopes are high that the Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark fed funds rate by at least 25 basis points at its policy-setting meeting on Tuesday to help take the heat off those credit concerns.