Impala Platinum, which has operations in Zimbabwe, fell over five percent at one point and was trading 4.30 percent lower at 189.15 rand at 0831 GMT.
London-listed Aquarius Platinum, which also has Zimbabwe operations, was down over five percent in Johannesburg at 38.77 rand, while Anglo Platinum was down over two percent to 664.52 rand.
"I think this is because of the Zimbabwean story," said Abri du Plessis, chief investment officer at Gryphon Asset Management.
"That 51 percent that they want in local hands looks fairly fixed at this point in time so that’s basically driving the platinum down."
Japanese shares fell Monday as high levels of radioactivity hindered work to control the nuclear fallout from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power facility, while Hong Kong and Taiwanese stocks lost ground after some earnings reports fell short of estimates.
Chinese and Indian stocks advanced, driven by hopes for strong corporate earnings. But the nuclear developments in Japan, as well as political unrest in the Mideast and North Africa, and the loss for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party in Sunday’s regional elections, kept investors cautious.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /quotes/comstock/64e!i:ni225 (JP:NI225 9,479, -57.60, -0.60%) fell 0.6% to end at 9,478.53 as repair crews at the troubled nuclear power facility struggled to make headway amid news that radioactivity levels in a pool of water inside one of the buildings had reached 100,000 times the normal level.
Radioactive water troubles Japan
Radiation levels in the water around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant spiked over the weekend.
“Developments in Japan remain challenging … In recent days, radiation levels at the facility have risen again, suggesting that hope for a relatively quick resolution that emerged early last week might have been premature,” Frederic Neumann, HSBC’s co-head of Asian economics research, wrote in a note to clients.
Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. /quotes/comstock/11i!tkec.y (TKECY 12.60, -1.15, -8.36%) , /quotes/comstock/64e!9501 (JP:9501 696.00, -150.00, -17.73%) owner of the stricken nuclear plant, tumbled another 17.7% to take its losses so far in March to more than 67%.
Japan Tobacco Inc. /quotes/comstock/64e!2914 (JP:2914 312,000, -2,000, -0.64%) lost 0.6% after the company said Friday it will halt shipments from March 30 to April 10, due to difficulty in procuring materials following the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Several exporters also declined, finding little support despite a weakened yen, with Advantest Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!ate/quotes/nls/ate (ATE 17.44, -0.10, -0.57%) /quotes/comstock/64e!6857 (JP:6857 1,360, -70.00, -4.90%) sinking 4.9% and Sony Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!sne/quotes/nls/sne (SNE 32.21, -0.17, -0.53%) /quotes/comstock/64e!6758 (JP:6758 2,600, -34.00, -1.29%) falling 1.3%. But some car makers rose, with Nissan Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/11i!nsan.y (NSANY 16.85, -0.01, -0.06%) /quotes/comstock/64e!7201 (JP:7201 705.00, +24.00, +3.52%) gaining 3.5% as it restarted production.
Elsewhere , Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /quotes/comstock/27w!i:xjo (AU:XJO 4,734, -9.04, -0.19%) slipped 0.2% to 4,733.6, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index /quotes/comstock/08s!i:hsi (HK:HANGSENG 23,068, -90.48, -0.39%) gave up 0.4% to 23,068.19 and Taiwan’s Taiex shed 0.7% to 8,553.06. In afternoon trade, Singapore’s Straits Times index dropped 0.3% to 3,063.28, Thailand’s SET slipped 0.1% to 1,036.54 and Indonesia’s share benchmark gave up 0.5% to 3,589.94.
Going the other way, China’s Shanghai Composite index /quotes/comstock/16k!i:000001 (CN:SHCOMP 2,984, +6.19, +0.21%) rose 0.2% to 2,984.01, South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.1% to 2,056.39, New Zealand’s NZX 50 climbed 0.6% to 3,408.05 and the Philippines’s main share index rose 1% to 3,913.98. India’s Sensex /quotes/comstock/29m!sensex (XX:SENSEX 18,943, +127.50, +0.68%) rose 0.8% to 18,964.82 in afternoon trade.
Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,221, +50.03, +0.41%) futures were up 23 points in screen trade.
Hong Kong stocks were pressured by shares of China Construction Bank Corp. /quotes/comstock/11i!cichy (CICHY 18.85, +0.39, +2.11%) /quotes/comstock/22h!e:939 (HK:939 7.15, -0.17, -2.32%) and refining giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!snp/quotes/nls/snp (SNP 101.22, +0.13, +0.13%) /quotes/comstock/22h!e:386 (HK:386 7.69, -0.16, -2.04%) , which lost 2.3% and 2%, respectively, after both reported 2010 earnings that missed some analyst expectations.
Shares of BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd. /quotes/comstock/22h!e:2388 (HK:2388 24.85, +0.45, +1.84%) /quotes/comstock/11i!bhkly (BHKLY 62.65, +1.40, +2.29%) rose 1.8% a day after the Hong Kong lender said it will reverse a loss provision of about 3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($385 million), out of the total HK$4 billion losses it suffered in 2009 and 2010 on investments linked to Lehman Brothers Holdings’s financial derivatives.
/quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 DXY 76.35, +0.14, +0.18%
Chinese banks helped Shanghai shares move higher, however, on expectations for strong earnings from five major banks due to release their annual reports this week.
“We expect the industry to post an average 30% rise in its [fiscal 2010] and first-quarter net profit, and the growth momentum in the banking sector remains strong due to the solid economic growth,” said Sinolink Securities analyst Xu Wei.
Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. /quotes/comstock/28c!e:601288 (CN:601288 2.72, +0.02, +0.74%) rose 0.7% and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /quotes/comstock/28c!e:601398 (CN:601398 4.49, +0.04, +0.90%) /quotes/comstock/11i!idcby (IDCBY 16.38, +0.19, +1.17%) gained 0.9%.
Technology shares weighed on Taiwanese shares after Acer Inc. /quotes/comstock/11i!aceif (ACEIF 11.85, +0.35, +3.04%) cut its revenue outlook for the first quarter of 2011. The computer maker said Friday that it expects revenue to drop 10% in the first quarter of this year, from the fourth quarter, due to sluggish demand in European and U.S. markets. Acer’s stock tumbled 6.9%, while Asustek Computer Inc. fell 5.7%.
In Mumbai, shares of Bharti Airtel Ltd. /quotes/comstock/64g!bhartiartl (IN:532454 347.80, +8.70, +2.57%) rose 2% in afternoon trade after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to overweight from neutral on expectations of strong earnings growth and customer additions.
Australian shares were held back by caution over the nuclear problems in Japan, with uranium stocks losing ground. Paladin Energy Ltd. /quotes/comstock/11i!palay (PALAY 38.67, +1.37, +3.67%) /quotes/comstock/22x!e:pdn (AU:PDN 3.75, -0.10, -2.60%) dropped 2.6% and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. /quotes/comstock/22x!e:era (AU:ERA 8.31, -0.25, -2.92%) gave up 2.9%.
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. /quotes/comstock/22x!e:aqp (AU:AQP 5.42, -0.40, -6.87%) lost 6.9% on Zimbabwe’s plans to force companies to sell 51% of local assets to indigenous people. Aquarius said late Friday it was in discussions with authorities to find a way to comply with the law after receiving notice it has 45 days to submit a plan to the government.
In foreign-exchange markets, the dollar extended Friday’s gains on the back of stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth data and comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser that the Fed should raise interest rates from a current range near zero to 2.5% within a year, starting “in the not-too-distant future.”
The euro, meanwhile, lost ground after the election result in Germany and concerns about the euro-zone’s sovereign-debt crisis, with investors focusing on Ireland and Portugal in particular.
“The underlying problems of excessive debt in the peripheral [European] economies and fears over bank exposure continue. Combined with fiscal austerity, we remain skeptical that the euro can sustain its current levels,” said UBS currency strategist Mansoor Mohiuddin.
As for the yen, Credit Agricole said in a note to clients that the “week might be characterized by the ongoing battle between repatriation fans and the threat of further G-7 intervention.”
The euro slipped to $1.4071 from $1.4088 late Friday in New York, but recovered against the Japanese currency, buying 114.98 yen recently, from ¥114.62. The dollar was buying ¥81.75, compared with ¥81.32.
Lead Japanese government bond futures dropped 0.16 to 139.64 points, weighed by losses for U.S. Treasurys Friday. The 10-year cash JGB yield was up 2.5 basis points at 1.240%.
Spot gold was at $1,418.60 per troy ounce, dropping $11.60 from its New York settlement Friday. May Nymex crude-oil futures were down 61 cents at $104.79 per barrel on Globex.