The Nikkei Index ended 0.4% lower on Monday on continued worries over the crisis in Ukraine which hurt investor sentiment, although companies such as Olympus Corp were in demand after issuing positive earnings forecasts.
The markets on mainland China, as well as the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong surged higher on Monday after Beijing reiterated its pledge to go ahead with a broad range reform in the capital market, while a strong commodities sector also spurred some investors, although not all investors were sure that the rally was sustainable.
Reuters reports that European stock markets are expected to open steady to slightly firmer on Monday, mirroring the positive performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which closed at a record high, although the advance could be capped by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine.
According to the Reuters website, the Dow Jones Industrial average (DJIA) reached another record high on Friday, supported by a recovery in high-growth momentum shares such as Netflix after the company increased the price of its most popular video streaming plan by $1 a month but Apple weighed heavily on news that the company had overpaid for music streaming and headphone gear company, Beats Electronics.
Business Day reports that the JSE All Share Index ended in the red on Friday with gold and platinum mining shares leading the downside on the back of softer commodity prices, with a lack of market news not helping investors with direction, while a firmer Rand also negatively influenced Rand hedge shares.
The Rand was last trading steady at R10.3375 against the Dollar, while it is quoted stronger at R14.2331 against the Euro and firmer at R17.4155 to the Pound.
The gold price has dropped to its lowest level in a week in Singapore on Monday as the Euro traded near a one-month low on fears of policy action from the ECB, but the precious metal bounced back on safe-haven demand on the back of increasing tension in Ukraine. Gold was last trading at $1,290.09, with the platinum price quoted at $1,429.60, while the palladium price is trading steady at $801.13.
Brent was last trading slightly softer at $108.26 a barrel.