Japan's Nikkei falls as yen strengthens

Tokyo stock exchange exterior Image copyright AFP

Japan's Nikkei share index fell, with shares in exporters hit as the yen continued to strengthen.

At the close, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index had fallen 0.4% to 15,607.77.

The continued strength in the yen dragged down shares of export-related companies, including car manufacturers Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

The dollar fell below 108 yen on Monday, and is now back to values last seen in October 2014.

Separately, data from Japan showed that core machinery orders fell 9.2% in February compared with the previous month.

That was being seen as a sign that business investment remains subdued for companies operating in Japan.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption WiseTech Global shares rose 8% on their debut in Australia

WiseTech market debut

In China, the Shanghai Composite index rose 1.6% to close at 3,033.96, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index gained 0.35% to end at 20,440.81 points.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P ASX 200 closed down 0.1% at 5,012.00. WiseTech Global was a standout performer as it made its debut on the exchange, with shares of the logistics software company rising 13%.

The listing raised 170m Australian dollars ($128m; £90.6m) for WiseTech. The Australian firm recently won a major contract with international logistics giant DHL, while at home its clients include the state-owned Australia Post.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi closed down 0.1% at 1,970.37.

This week's calendar

As for things to look out for this week - China will release first quarter growth numbers on Friday. That will be the most-watched gauge on how the world's second largest economy is performing against a backdrop of a global slowdown.

Analysts are forecasting an expansion of 6.8% when compared with the same period last year.

On Wall Street, the first quarter earnings reporting season for corporate America kicks off later today, with Alcoa being the first to announce its results.

US banks are due to report their quarterly earnings later in the week.