asian stocks

Asian stocks remained mixed in the morning as the Cypriot parliament's decision to reject European bailout proposal stoked fresh concerns on the eurozone debt crisis.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 traded nearly 0.4 percent or 17.6 points lower to 4969.8 while South Korea's benchmark KOSPI was down 0.3 percent or 5.1 points to 1973.5.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.02 percent or 23 points to 2280.4. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent or 125.81 points to 22167.7. Japanese markets remain closed for a holiday.

The Cyprus parliament rejected its international lenders' mandate to impose a levy on the bank deposits as a condition for the bailout deal, reignited concerns on the country's financial situation.

"This week it feels like we have gone back to the start of 2012 for financial markets, with traders on constant alert for European politicians' actions and their announcements hitting the news wires," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.

"All eyes remain on Cyprus. The uncertainty continues as failed parliamentary votes get reported, volatility picks up and risk assets struggle".

The uncertainty on the matter continued to put pressure on the stock markets despite the efforts of the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease concerns to some extent. The ECB suggested that it may offer liquidity to the island nation within limits, according to multiple media reports.

However, the currency market did not respond to the development positively and the single currency slid to a four-month low against the US dollar. The euro traded at $ 1.2876, after having eased as much as $1.2844 during North American trading session.

Major Movers

Miners traded lower in Sydney. Rio Tinto traded 2.2 percent lower while BHP Billiton was down 2.03 percent. Fortescue Metals Group slipped 3.3 percent.

Some of the major consumer stocks led gains in Hong Kong. Sands China was up 4.2 percent while lifestyle retailer Espirit Holdings rose 3.7 percent. Financial stocks too traded higher, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China gaining 2.5 percent and China Construction Bank Corp adding 2.3 percent.

Automobile-related stocks traded higher in Shanghai. Guangzhou Automobile Group rose 5.4 percent while Shenyang Jinbei Automotive added 4.02 percent and Changchun Faway Automobile Components Company gained 3.5 percent. Banks too gained with China Citic Bank Corp climbing 10.02 percent and China Merchants Bank rising 3.5 percent.

South Korean automobiles picked up after a weak start. Hyundai gained 0.2 percent while rival Kia was up 0.2 percent.