Investing.com - Asian shares were mixed on Monday after initially moving higher, taking the lead from the U.S., where the S&P 500 on Friday closed at a record high.
But trade was subdued with no major data releases and the U.S. and U.K. closed for public holidays.
The Ukrainian elections, which passed without serious incident, also supported sentiment. Pro-European Petro Poroshenko declared victory in the poll, while Russian President Vladimir Putin had pledged on Friday to respect the result of Sunday''s elections.
Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index fell 0.07% and the Shanghai Composite rose by 0.36 as market sentiment was helped by comments from Premier Li Keqiang , who said the country''s economy has stabilized though it still faces downward pressure.
Japan''s Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% as the yen weakened against the dollar on minutes from the April 30 Bank of Japan board meeting that showed varied dissent by three of the nine board members on prospects for the current aggressive easing policy to meet inflation adn growth targets.
Elsewhere in Asia, Australia''s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% and South Korea''s KOSPI was down 0.2%.
In corporate news, shares in Chinese battery and car maker BYD Co Ltd-H (HK:1211) plunged 4.3% in Hong Kong as the company resumed trading after a deal to raise around $550 million via a share placement--ending months of speculation over its funding needs.
U.S. stocks ended last week higher after official data revealed more new homes were sold in the U.S. in April than markets were expecting, a sign the once-battered housing sector continues to recover.
The Dow 30 rose 0.38%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.42% to a record-high 1900.53, the first time ever over the 1900 mark, while the NASDAQ Composite Composite index rose 0.76%.
The housing sector, which threw the U.S. economy into the worst downturn since the Great Depression and lagged on its recovery for years, is on the mend.
The Census Bureau reported earlier that U.S. new home sales rose 6.4% to 433,000 units in April from 407,000 units in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated 384,000. Analysts had expected new home sales to rise to 425,000 units last month.
A day earlier, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales increased 1.3% in April to an annual rate of 4.65 million units, and hopes that the U.S. housing sector is improving strengthened demand for the dollar on Friday.
In the coming week, markets in the U.K. will be closed for a public holiday on Monday, while U.S. markets will also be closed for the Memorial Day holiday. Investors will be looking ahead to revised data on U.S. first quarter growth, while Tuesday’s report on consumer confidence will also be in focus.