* Markets subdued as Easter holiday shuts several markets
* Japan logs largest-ever trade deficit, nudges up
* Ukraine on the radar in wake of fresh violence
* Dilution concerns weigh on Chinese shares
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, April 21 Asian stock markets were subdued
on Monday, as tensions in Ukraine kept investors cautious amid
an absence of catalysts as several markets remained closed for
the Easter holiday.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
inched down 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock
average rose 0.3 percent on the back of a weaker yen.
Share markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt are closed for
the Easter holiday.
Tensions in Ukraine, signs of slowing growth in China and
uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve would start to
tighten interest rates have buffeted global markets in recent
weeks, although Fed Chair Janet Yellen's dovish comments last
week helped soothe some nerves.
Chinese shares slipped on concerns towards potential new
listings diluting the market after the securities regulator
released draft prospectuses for new companies planning to list.
"The way the market sees the IPO news is that new shares
will end up diluting capital, and what's more, this news is
rather sudden," said Tian Weidong, head of research in Kaiyuan
Securities in the city of Xi'an.
The CSI300 index of the largest Shanghai and
Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.4 percent, while the
Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent.
The dollar edged up to a two-week high against the yen after
data showed Japan posted its largest-ever trade deficit in the
fiscal year through March 2014 due to a soaring energy import
The greenback rose to 102.71 yen, its highest point
since April 8, and remained well bid after upbeat U.S. factory
data and jobless claims late last week.
Analysts said signs that the U.S. economy had shaken off
disruptions caused by harsh winter weather would help the U.S.
currency in the longer run.
"With momentum building behind the U.S. industrial cycle,
tentative signs of wage-based pressure building, and further
labour market improvements likely, falling U.S. rates are
unlikely to continue to be a major driver of dollar weakness,"
strategists at Barclays said in a note to clients.
The encouraging U.S. data saw the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
yield spike on Friday to a 10-day peak of 2.726
percent, pulling back sharply from a six-week trough of 2.596
percent hit earlier last week.
Support for the safe-haven Japanese currency also ebbed
last week after the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the
European Union called for an immediate halt to violence.
However, tensions in Ukraine are expected to underpin the
yen in the short term, traders said.
At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early
hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian
separatists, shaking an already fragile international accord
that was designed to avert a wider conflict.
The euro was at $1.3818, little changed from last
week. It hit a 2-1/2-year high near $1.40 in the middle of
March, but has since gone on the defensive after a number of
European Central Bank officials expressed concerns about the
common currency's strength.
In the commodity markets, gold initially edged higher as the
Ukraine tensions sparked some safe-haven buying but fell to a
2-1/2-week low, hurt by sharp outflows from the world's biggest
bullion-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF) and a stronger dollar.
Spot gold fell to $1,281.40 an ounce, lowest since
April 3, amid thin trading volumes as Hong Kong and London were
closed on Monday for Easter.
Geopolitical risks stemming from the former Soviet republic
supported oil. Brent crude traded at $109.10 per barrel,
near a six-week peak of $110.36 hit last week.
($1 = 6.2190 Chinese Yuan)
(Additional reporting by Natalie Thomas in Beijing; Editing by