Chinese shares sold off on Monday following a weak services sector report, while profit-taking and a stronger yen saw Japan's Nikkei fell below 16,000 points on its first trading day of the new year.
Investors also digested comments from Federal Reserve officials last week, including Chairman Ben Bernanke and Philadelphia President Charles Plosser. Bernanke reiterated the Fed's commitment to keeping interest rates low, while .
Further hints on the direction of U.S. monetary policy may be seen in the release this week of the minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting, at which the central bank began tapering it's stimulus. The week ahead also sees a raft of speeches from regional Fed presidents as well as the December jobs report.
"It is a week where event risk in the shape of central bank narrative, economic data and U.S. treasury auctions litter every asset class and geography. With this in mind, perhaps those traders who hadn't had a chance to react last week have come in with a modestly pessimistic view on equities, " wrote Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in a note.
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Nikkei skids 2.3%