Asian stock markets were mostly lower Monday as hopes dimmed for aggressive moves by China to stimulate its slowing economy, AP reported.
China's consumer price index for September rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier, easing from August's 2 percent rise, but analysts said closer examination of the figures suggest China's government and central bank will be cautious about doing more to boost growth in the world's No. 2 economy.
Dariusz Kowalczyk at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said non-food inflation accelerated to a seven-month high of 1.7 percent, an indication of underlying price pressure that 'reduces the odds of further monetary easing.'
He said an interest rate cut by the central bank is unlikely although a reduction in the reserve ratio requirement - the ratio of cash that banks must keep on hand - might be possible later this year.
Kowalczyk said the producer prices index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level and fell 3.6 percent from the year before, was another negative signal since it is indicative of a weak level of economic activity.
'A combination of growth softness and less room to ease policy stance is a negative and should weigh on sentiment today,' he said.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index vacillated between positive and negative territory until moving 0.5 percent higher at 8,579.34.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.1 percent to 21,110.10. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6 percent to 1,921.74. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.1 percent to 4,482.50. Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent to 2,094.47 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1 percent at 857.16.