Asian stocks were mixed in early trading Monday as traders kicked off a new month and quarter.
The Nikkei NIK, -0.58% lagged early, dropping 0.3% as automakers such as Honda 7267, -0.43% and Nissan 7201, -1.07% dropped some 1% on President Donald Trump’s weekend auto-tariff talk. South Korea’s Hyundai 005380, -1.20% was down similarly, and the Kospi index SEU, -1.13% was essentially flat along with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.15% . New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.15% , among the few indexes that didn’t log decent gains Friday, was up 0.3% at midday.
Japanese stocks maintained their early weakness as U.S.-related worries persisted, with a slump in sectors ranging from food to rubber, airlines and retail. But the weakest big-cap was Hitachi Chemical 4217, -3.27% , down 3.5% to 21-month lows after disclosing inappropriate data entries related to lead-acid batteries. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan’s Tankan business-sentiment report just missed in regards to big manufacturers but was solidly in positive territory. However, it predicted the dollar will weaken to ¥107.26, 3.5 yen below where the greenback currently trades. A stronger yen is a negative for many Japanese firms’ earnings.