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Aug 20, 2012, 10.16 AM IST
Asian shares inched lower on Monday, taking a break after investor risk appetite had risen on hopes that Europe's policymakers will take decisive steps to tackle the euro zone's debt crisis in coming weeks.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.2%, pulled lower by Chinese shares. The index has risen about 1% so far in August and is hovering near a three-month high hit earlier in the month.
Hong Kong shares fell 0.9% and Shanghai slid 1% after data over the weekend showed home prices in China rose in July for a second month, spurring profit taking in the property sector, which has outperformed the broader market in the year to date.
The state-run Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Monday that rising housing prices could lead Beijing to impose more curbs on the sector to control housing inflation, which could include an expansion of the property tax pilot to include more cities and raising the pre-sales requirements.
Japan's Nikkei stock average gained 0.6% to a three-month high, with a weaker yen supporting exporters.
"You do get to a stage where a lot of investors are a little bit sceptical whether this run will continue," said IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu, of Australia's equities market ,which pulled back from a three-month high as investors took a breather in the absence of any clear catalyst to push the market higher.
Both the pan-Asia stock index and the Nikkei hit their 2012 lows in early June, with the recent bouts of rallies inspired by the European Central Bank hinting at a bond-buying programme to contain Spain's surging borrowing costs and backing from Europe's paymaster Germany.
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