Asian shares were mostly lower Monday, with stocks in Japan and Australia underperforming notably as further declines in the U.S. dollar continued to weigh on investor sentiment.
A fresh pullback in commodity prices also hurt equities, despite the weaker dollar. Many assets in the sector are denominated in the dollar and often rise when the currency falls.
Australian and Japanese shares led declines, with the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.76% down 0.9%, hitting a six-week intraday low at one point, before pulling back to a 0.7% loss, and the Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.56% dropped 0.8%.
Weaker commodity prices, notably in iron ore after its recent gains, pushed down Australian stocks, said Gary Huxtable, a senior adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers in Melbourne. Equities there have been underperforming for several months, and the S&P/ASX 200 fell for two of the previous three weeks.
Australia’s big banks, which declined some 1.5%, also weighed on the market there. They collectively make up about one-quarter of the index.
Among the biggest stock decliners in Japan were export-reliant companies, as is often the case when the yen strengthens, since that eats into such firms’ earnings. Meanwhile, fresh declines in bond yields hit insurers, which are heavy investors in fixed income. Dai-ichi Life 8750, -1.81% and T&D Holdings 8795, -2.08% slid more than 2%.