Asia’s benchmark stock gauge was little changed, after posting its biggest weekly advance in more than five months, as gains in pharmaceutical stocks countered declines in utilities.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose and fell less than 0.1 percent before trading at 152.30 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure jumped 3 percent last week, the steepest weekly gain since October, as Hong Kong equities soared and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average briefly breached 20,000 for the first time since April 2000.
Machinery orders in Japan slipped 0.4 percent in February from the prior month, less than the 2.2 percent decline forecast by economists, a report showed. China is due to report trade figures today.