Asia-Pacific stocks struggle for direction; investors watch Alibaba shares after massive fine

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday morning trade after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 notched record closing highs on Friday stateside.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 sat near the flatline in early trade while the Topix index rose fractionally. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.44%.

Stocks in Australia slipped as the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.18%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.08% lower.

In corporate developments, investors will watch shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong after Chinese regulators slapped the firm with a 18.23 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) fine in its anti-monopoly probe of the tech juggernaut.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.175 following its decline earlier this month from above 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.71 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7619 following turbulent trade last week that saw it swinging from above $0.765 to around $0.759.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.51% to $62.37 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.4% to $59.56 per barrel.