RTTNews - Most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region have turned weak after an early surge on Monday with participants turning cautious after news poured in about the conduct of a nuclear test by North Korea.

The Australian market opened on a cautious note but rallied higher subsequently on fairly heavy buying in energy and materials stocks.

The lifting of a ban on short selling in financial stocks did not generate buying interest. Several stocks from this sector have declined sharply now on selling pressure. ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation are down sharply in the red now.

Insurance stock QBE Insurance and diversified financials stock Macquarie Group are also trading sharply lower.

Energy and materials stocks are trading off their earlier highs. Telecom, healthcare and consumer staples stocks are exhibiting weakness. Industrials and information technology stocks are trading mixed.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is currently down by 35 points at 3,727. The All Ordinaries index is trading at 3,724, down 31.40 points from its previous close. Earlier, the two indices had moved on to 3,784 and 3,778 respectively.

The Korean index KOSPI is down by 45.77 points or 3.54% at 1,354. The index had earlier surged to 1,414 after a cautious start.

Stock markets in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand are also trading weak. While the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng are trading lower by over 1%, the Singaporean Straits Times and New Zealand's NZX 50 are trading modestly lower. The Taiwan Weighted average is trading flat.

However, the Japanese benchmark Nikkei is trading in positive territory on fairly strong buying in healthcare, automobile, construction, machinery, metals and chemicals stocks. Bank stocks are trading weak.

The Nikkei, which had rallied to 9,403, came off its high, but was still trading firm at 9,331, up 105.42 points or 1.14% at the end of the morning session.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had finished lower on Friday. Major European markets, however, closed modestly higher. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both finished higher by 0.3 percent. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also closed mildly higher, rising by 0.4 percent.

Following a big increase in Chinese demand and on weak U.S. dollar, oil prices edged past $62 a barrel in early trading Monday.

Crude oil finished modestly higher amid choppy trading, adding to its strong week. Oil's hedge value was boosted as the dollar continued to fall against other majors. Light sweet crude for July delivery moved to $61.67, up 62 cents on the session. Oil had jumped to around $62 a barrel earlier in the day.

On Wall Street, stocks faced some selling pressure during the final minutes on Friday on worries about the budget deficit. The Dow ended 14.81 points down at 8,277.32 and the Nasdaq closed 3.24 points down at 1,692.01. The S&P 500 fell marginally by 1.33 points to 887.

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