Stocks in China mostly fall; Japan bourses closed for 10-day holiday

Stocks in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Monday, while stock markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Mainland Chinese stocks dropped by the close, with the Shanghai composite 0.77 percent down at 3,062.50 and the Shenzhen component dropping about 2.88 percent to 9,622.49. The Shenzhen composite also declined 2.412 percent to 1,625.62.

The CSI 300, which tracks the largest shares on the mainland, on the other hand, rose 0.28 percent to finish at 3,900.33. Shenzhen-listed shares of electric vehicle maker BYD gained 0.52 percent after the company reported a 632% surge in first-quarter net profit. Its Hong Kong-listed counterpart, on the other hand, declined more than 0.8 percent.

One investor told CNBC valuations in Chinese markets were “a little bit expensive” at the moment.

“When you sort of look at both the valuation levels on a P/E basis as well as on a price-to-book basis for MSCI China, they’re already above its 10 and 15 year historical averages. With the CSI 300, they’re very much approaching their historical averages,” Ken Wong, Asia equity portfolio specialist at Eastspring Investments, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.

During such scenarios when historical valuations are “getting a little bit stretched,” investors tend to “take a bit of profit,” he added. “That’s exactly what we saw last week.”

Mainland Chinese markets stumbled to their worst weekly performance since October last week, with the Shanghai composite dropping more than 5.5 percent.

Research firm Capital Economics attributed the weakness to comments made by China’s top decision-making body about the country’s economic stimulus plans. While Chinese officials said they would continue to support the economy, better-than-expected first-quarter GDP results sparked worries about potential near-term policy easing.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.88 percent in its final hour of trading.

The MSCI Asia-ex Japan index also rose 0.53 percent to 540.53, as of 3:20 p.m. HK/SIN.

In South Korea, the Kospi added 1.70 percent, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumping 2.90 percent ahead of its earnings release on Tuesday.

The ASX 200 in Australia, on the other hand, slipped 0.41 percent to close at 6,359.50.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 1.54 percent in afternoon trade as shares of DBS Group, Southeast Asia’s biggest lender, surged more than 3.4 percent after it reported a record quarterly profit. The shares of other banks in Singapore also climbed, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp rising more than 2 percent, and United Overseas Bank up more than 2.8 percent.

Japan is currently on a 10-day holiday from April 27 to May 6 to celebrate the enthronement of the country’s Crown Prince Naruhito.

Source: Reuters