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Australia banks, Japan markets, currencies in focus

Asia markets were mixed on Monday morning, with shares in Japan and Australia rising while stocks in Hong Kong slipped.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which will close earlier at 12:00 p.m. HK/SIN today with the eve of the Lunar New Year holidays, slipped 0.1 percent in early trade.

Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.2 percent while the Topix rose 0.77 percent. Shares of tech giant Sony, however, plunged more than 8 percent after the company cut its revenue outlook for the fiscal year, on the back of weaker-than-expected sales of cameras and smartphones.

Stocks in Australia traded higher ahead of the release of a landmark report surrounding the country’s beleaguered financial services sector. The ASX 200 gained 0.38 percent in afternoon trade, with the sectors mostly higher. The heavily weighted financial subindex recovered from its earlier slip to rise more than 0.5 percent as shares of the country’s Big Four banks advanced.

The moves Down Under came ahead of the release of the final report by the Royal Commission into misconduct in the country’s financial sector. The recommendations by the Royal Commission are expected to bring extensive changes to the sector, following a series of systemic wrongdoings which were uncovered in 2018.

Stock markets in China and South Korea are closed today due to holidays.


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