Asian markets flat as Chinese shares disappoint

Guy Bentley
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Asian shares are broadly flat as weak Chinese shares offset a positive day on Wall Street.
The Chinese Enterprises Index fell by one per cent to its lowest point in nearly four weeks.

Fears over a slowdown in the Chinese economy were reinforced over the past week as Great Wall Motor and Air China reported poor or weaker than expected earnings.

However, extended losses for the Japanese yen have boosted the outlook for the country's exports. The yen fell to a near two week low against the US dollar.

Yesterday Japan reported a widening trade deficit for the month of March, which London-based consultancy Capital Economics believes will be followed by smaller shortfalls in the coming months, as consumers cut back on spending after April's rise in the consumption tax.

While outright hostilities are not on the cards in Ukraine, investors remain cautious in the run up to the presidential elections. The US has threatened further action against Russia if the agreement reached last week is not implemented.

Japan's Nikkei has edged up 0.2 per cent, while the Topix remains flat. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index is down 0.2 per cent, with the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index suffering a smaller decline of 0.05 per cent. South Korea's Kospi has so far made gains of 0.1 per cent.