Asian Shares Mostly Lower Amid Brexit Worries

A man is reflected on the electronic board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Asian shares were mostly lower Monday amid worries about Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.0 percent to 19,095.24. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,748.20. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5 percent at 2,065.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.0 percent to 22,707.89, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.6 percent to 3,094.34.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to deliver a speech outlining her vision of Britain’s post-EU future, and market players are worried that what she says may indicate a “hard” approach to the nation’s exit. Her office has said she will call for a “truly global Britain” that is more open to the world when she lays out plans for negotiations with the European Union.

Japanese air-bag maker Takata Corp. stock suffered after the company agreed in the U.S. last week to a guilty plea and a $1 billion fine for concealing a deadly defect in millions of air bags. Takata shares dropped nearly 10 percent in morning trading. Three former Takata executives were also indicted. Automakers have recalled 42 million cars equipped with 69 million Takata air-bag inflators in the U.S., the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5.27 points, or 0.03 percent, on Friday, finishing the week at 19,885.73. Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 4.20 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,274.64. The Nasdaq added 26.63 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,574.12. The index has set a record-high close six times this year. Trading in the U.S. will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“Asian markets are facing headwinds from rising political uncertainty in the West, which gave investors good reasons to take profits,” said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

Benchmark crude rose 11 cents to $52.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 1.2 percent Friday. Brent crude, which is used to price oils sold internationally, added 13 cents to $55.58 a barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 114.00 yen from 114.58 yen. The euro fell to $1.0625 from $1.0643.

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