HONG KONG 2012  - Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday as better-than-expected US growth data failed to offset concerns over corporate earnings.
Trading was also nervous at the start of a crucial week that will see a Bank of Japan policy meeting, the release of US jobs data and a series of talks in Europe on Greece’s debt.
Tokyo ended flat, dipping 3.72 points to 8,929.34. Sydney closed 0.10 per cent, or 4.5 points, higher at 4,476.9 and Seoul was almost unchanged, nudging up 0.09 points to 1,891.52.
Hong Kong closed down 0.16 per cent, or 34.52 points, at 21,511.05 with developers dragged down by government plans to curb the red-hot property market.
Shanghai ended 0.35 per cent lower, giving up 7.27 points to 2,058.94. The US Department of Commerce said Friday the world’s number one economy grew at a 2.0 per cent annual rate in July-September—compared to the second quarter’s 1.3 per cent expansion and the 1.9 per cent forecast by most economists.
A 13 per cent jump in defence spending, which tends to be volatile, and better consumer spending and housing investment propelled the growth.
However, the data did highlight flat business investment and shrinking exports.
Wall Street was almost unmoved as investors took stock of another set of disappointing earnings from the likes of Apple and Merck. The Dow ended up 0.03 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.07 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 0.06 per cent. The New York Stock Exchange announced it would close its trading floor and conduct only electronic transactions, as Hurricane Sandy closed in on the US eastern seaboard.
“In consultation with other exchanges and market participants, NYSE Euronext will close its markets on Monday... and pending confirmation on Tuesday,” the market operator said in a statement. Joe Bracken, head of macro strategies at BT Investment Management in Sydney, suggested the impending hurricane could contribute to quiet trading in Asia.
“You’ve got the US essentially closed, so there will be less of that US liquidity that drives a lot of international markets,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Eyes are now on a two-day meeting of the Bank of Japan which ends Tuesday, with most investors hoping it will unveil an extension of its monetary easing policy. Despite expectations of fresh cash being pumped into the market, the yen rose slightly in early European trade.
The dollar was trading at 79.60 yen against 79.62 yen late Friday in New York, while the euro bought 102.73 yen compared with 103.00 yen. The European unit was at $1.2907 from $1.2942.
Also on the horizon are the release of manufacturing figures out of China and other Asian nations, while the US will Friday unveil its non-farm payrolls data, the last before the presidential election. And eurozone ministers will hold a series of meetings on Greece to decide whether it has done enough to fix its debt problem to receive the latest tranche of crucial aid money. The ministers are also looking at a Greek request for the terms of its bailout to be extended by two years to 2016.
Oil was lower. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, shed 68 cents to $85.60 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 85 cents to $108.70. Gold was at $1,712.20 at 1045 GMT compared with $1,703.18 late Friday. In other markets: * Singapore closed down 0.91 per cent, or 27.90 points, at 3,029.61.  DBS Group fell 0.86 per cent to Sg$13.90 and Jardine Cycle and Carriage shed 1.02 per cent to Sg$49.64. * Taipei slipped 0.59 per cent, or 42.39 points, to 7,091.67.
Leading smartphone maker HTC was 7.0 per cent limit-down at Tw$219.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.92 per cent higher at Tw$88.1. * Manila closed 0.14 per cent lower, losing 7.74 points to 5,397.42. Ayala Land rose 0.64 per cent to 23.65 pesos but Puregold Price Club was unchanged at 30.05 pesos. Coal Asia Holdings, which soared 50 per cent on its debut last week, slumped 14.67 per cent to 1.28 pesos.
Wellington fell 0.82 per cent, or 32.48 points, to 3,951.30. Telecom was off 3.45 per cent at NZ$2.38 and Fletcher Building shed 0.7 per cent to NZ$7.07.
Jakarta closed 0.18 per cent lower, shedding 7.79 points to 4,331.37. Mobile phone operator Indosat was up 6.45 per cent at 6,600 rupiah, palm oil firm Astra Agro Lestari dropped 1.2 per cent to 20,650 rupiah and retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa slipped 0.92 per cent to 1,080 rupiah.
* Bangkok lost 0.17 per cent, or 2.24 points, to 1,279.57.

Banpu was unchanged at 389.00 baht, but PTT gained 0.96 per cent or 3.00 baht to 316.00 baht.
* Kuala Lumpur was flat, nudging up 0.67 points to 1,672.56.

Public Bank gained 2.08 per cent to 15.74 ringgit while Top Glove rose 0.38 per cent to 5.35. Cycle & Carriage Bintang lost 3.17 per cent to end at 2.75 ringgit.
* Mumbai ended virtually flat, rising 0.06 per cent or 10.48 points to 18,635.82.

IT outsourcer Wipro rose 2.56 per cent to 344.75 rupees. United Spirits, the flagship of the UB group led by Vijay Mallya, fell 9.15 per cent to 1,095.05 rupees after he said that a deal with UK drinks giant Diageo was not a certainty.