Most of the Asian equity benchmarks are trading lower in the early deals on Monday as investors looked ahead to US President Donald Trump's speech to Congress this week for details of promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average fell to 2-1/2 week lows as the yen strengthened and as financial stocks dropped on lower US yields. Among the other Asian markets, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia are lower. Bucking the trend, Hong Kong and Malaysia are modestly higher. The markets in Taiwan are closed for public holiday.
Nikkei 225 dropped 126.46 points or 0.66% to 19,157.08, Jakarta Composite slipped 12.60 points or 0.23% to 5,373.31, KOSPI Index dipped 4.71 points or 0.22% to 2,089.41, Straits Times declined 11.51 points or 0.37% to 3,105.52, and Shanghai Composite was down by 8.72 points or 0.27% to 3,244.71.
On the flip side, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI gained 3.68 points or 0.22% to 1,702.03, and Hang Seng was up by 19.00 points or 0.08% to 23,984.70.