Asian stock markets ended lower Monday as concerns over the Chinese economic slowdown offset the expectations for more stimulus measures from the policy makers around world.
Chinese Shanghai Composite plunged 1.74 percent or 36.40 points to 2,055.71, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.41 percent or 80.73 points to 19,799.30 and South Korean KOSPI Composite declined 0.10 percent or 1.94 points to 1,917.87 while Japanese benchmark Nikkei gained 0.16 percent or 14.63 points to 9,085.39 and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex slipped 0.29 percent.
Chinese shares plunged after data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that profits at nations industrial companies fell for the fourth month in July while HSBC downgraded 2012 China GDP forecast to 8.0 percent from 8.4 percent and 2013 forecast to 8.5 percent from 8.8 percent, suggesting that the world's second largest economy is struggling to overcome strong global headwinds.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday that China's Premier Wen Jiabao supported extra measures to lift exports and make sure that economic targets were achieved. However, this could not prevent the markets from losing ground.
Meanwhile, investors await the central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to discuss monetary policy later this week. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak Friday and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is scheduled to give a speech Saturday. Investors will be looking for hints of what the Fed and ECB plan to pursue at their September meetings.
Expectations for more action from the Federal Reserve raised Friday after Bernanke said in a letter to congressional panel that there was room for additional monetary action by the central bank to ease financial conditions and strengthen the recovery. It came after James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said last week that growth in the second half could keep the Fed on hold.
Bernanke's view and the Beige, which will likely report on the regional economic activity that continues to increase at a modest to moderate pace, might give the public a better picture on whether or not the Fed will launch additional easing soon. However, analysts' at Credit Agricole see 50/50 odds of an easing move in September.
Japanese shares ended higher, led by gains from technology and exporter companies shares. Pioneer Corp. surged 4.37 percent and Sharp Corp. gained 2.60 percent while Olympus Corp. climbed 4.41 percent.
PetroChina Co. fell 1.76 percent and ZTE Corp. slumped 6.88 percent in Hong Kong while Citic Securities Co. plunged 5.30 percent and Air China Ltd. plunged 2.79 percent in Shanghai.
Samsung Electronics slumped 7.45 percent in Seoul after the US bench in San Jose courtroom found the Galaxy maker guilty of violation of intellectual property after arriving at the conclusion that it had infringed on the Apple's patent. The bench asked Samsung to pay $1.051 billion to Apple in damages for patent infringement.