Asian stocks were mostly lower on Thursday following a subdued lead from Wall Street, while the dollar pulled up from near two-week lows and sterling languished under the weight of political fears one week before Britain’s election.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.2 percent and looked set for its fifth straight session of losses as investors took profits after stocks hit a two-year high last week and as economic and geopolitical concerns continued to weigh on sentiment.
Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.8 percent after data showing recurring first-quarter corporate profits were the highest on record for the January to March period.
An increase in capital expenditure in the first quarter also adds to a raft of recent data pointing to economic expansion.
Manufacturing growth in Japan also rose to a three-month high, according to a business survey.
Australian stocks retreated 0.2 percent.
South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.3 percent and the Korean won weakened 0.2 percent to trade at 1,121 won to the dollar after data showed factory activity in May shrank for the 10th straight month.
Overnight, Wall Street closed slightly lower as financials lost ground after JPMorgan and Bank of America warned of revenue weakness in the current quarter, but gains in defensive plays offset the decline.
All three major US indexes ended May in positive territory.
The dollar gained after touching a near two-week low against the yen overnight.
It was up 0.2 percent from its previous close at 110.95 early on Thursday, its first positive session in five, but concerns about US politics capped gains.