Hong Kong shares fell 0.
30 per cent as Crimea’s vote to break away from Ukraine and join Russia led to threats of sanctions against Moscow by the West, fuelling geopolitical tensions.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index slipped 65.54 points to 21,473.95 on turnover of HK$55.78 billion ($A8.05 billion).
The referendum Sunday saw Crimeans overwhelmingly vote to become part of Russia, further fuelling tensions in the worst crisis between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
But while people the predominantly Russian-speaking peninsula celebrated, Ukraine’s new pro-European leaders and the West branded the poll “illegal”.
The vote was organised after Russian forces seized de facto control of the region and pro-Moscow authorities took power in response to the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin leader Viktor Yanukovych in February.
US President Barack Obama told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call that it “would never be recognised by the United States and the international community”.
He said the US and its European allies were “prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions”.
HSBC Global Asset Management in a note to clients: “From an investment standpoint, as the situation remains fluid, volatility will remain high in the short term across markets, especially on equities.”
Internet giant Tencent slipped 3.1 per cent to HK$546.5, insurance firm Ping An fell 1.24 per cent to HK$59.7 and HSBC was 0.26 per cent lower at HK$77.5.
China Mobile eased 1.01 per cent to HK$68.8 but Macau casino firm Galaxy Entertainment surged 4.36 per cent to HK$74.2.
Chinese shares rallied 0.96 per cent after the government unveiled a plan to encourage more urbanisation.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 19.33 points to 2,023.67 on turnover of 72.0 billion yuan ($A13.09 billion).
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, jumped 2.06 per cent, or 22.17 points, to 1,096.36 on turnover of 101.3 billion yuan.
The government said Sunday is will give more than 100 million Chinese vital documents making them officially residents of the country’s cities under a broad plan for the urbanisation that is crucial to economic growth.
It said it will also increase public housing as part of the plan as it aims to have about 60 per cent of its population living in cities by 2020, compared with 52.6 per cent at the end of 2012.
The “national plan for a new model of urbanisation” also calls expanded public transport, according to the blueprint released by the State Council, or cabinet.
“Certain stocks that investors believe will benefit from reform are outperforming today,” Zhang Yuheng, an analyst with Capital Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Among construction material companies Beijing Taikong Panel Industry soared by its 10 per cent daily limit to 10.02 yuan while Anhui Conch Cement rose 2.64 per cent to 14.78 yuan.
Property firms also rose, with China Vanke, the country’s largest property developer, up 3.1 per cent at 7.76 yuan.
Beijing Capital Development gained 5.92 per cent to 4.65 yuan while Poly Real Estate added 1.29 per cent to 7.08 yuan.