SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Asia closed modestly lower Monday as markets appeared to be coming to grips with the Omicron variant, while in Hong Kong the demise of China Evergran de edged closer.
The embattled property giant told regulators on Friday it had received a demand for repayment of $269 million which it admitted it would have difficulty in meeting.
"In the event that the Group is unable to meet its guarantee obligations or certain other financial obligations, it may lead to creditors demanding acceleration of repayment," the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange where it is listed.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 417.31 points or 1.76 percent to close Monday at 23,349.38.
"This week would be crucial as we would likely get a better read of the Omicron's severity," CNBC reported DBS as saying in a note circulated to clients on Monday. "During the Delta variant surge in August, tech stocks held up better. That did not happen this time, with the Nasdaq correcting more than the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones index."
"The mix of Omicron fears, upcoming tighter Fed policy, and weak equities sentiment is proving difficult to digest, sparking demand for safety in longer-term US Treasuries," the DBS note said.
At the close of trading in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 102.20 points or 0.36 percent at 27,927.37.
The Australian All Ordinaries dipped 14.60 points or 0.19 percent to 7,529.00
China's Shanghai Composite slipped 18.13 points or 0.50 percent to 3,589.31.
The foreign exchange market was steady with the U.S. dollar holding firm. The euro drifted down to 1.1282. The British pound was softer at 1.3226. The Japanese yen weakened to 113.09. The Swiss franc eased to 0.9213.
The Canadian dollar edged down to 1.2872. The Australian dollar slipped to 0.7014. The New Zealand dollar dropped to 0.6744.