Overnight the Nikkei 225 slips -0.83% to 13,639 while the Hang Seng loses -0.39% to 22,450.
We start with a six month update from investment trust RIT Capital Partners. The Lord Rothschild-backed operator says there has been a total NAV total return of 16.9% since the start of the year with a growth in net assets of £290m to £2,137m.
The share price has increased by 10.3% over that period; taking account of the April dividend a total return of 11.5% is claimed. Its equity book outperformed markets, as a result of successful stock picking with a focus on US cyclicality and Japan, RIT says.
"Recovery still relies so heavily on central bank creation of money, the search for quality has been our main focus. We continue, even so, to research and identify companies and special situations that would benefit from the much-needed transition from growth."
Handset Testing, following a strong close to last year, had a slow start to the current year says the company. Momentum in order intake has built over the course of the first quarter resulting in order intake slightly ahead of the same period last year.
"Network Testing and Travel have both had strong first quarters with each achieving revenue and adjusted operating profit1 well ahead of weak comparatives last year. Network Testing has seen good underlying demand across its product range."
Finally, an interim up to 30 June for Essar Energy. Its Indian Vadinar Q1 current price gross refining margins averaged US$7.01/bbl, up 49% from US$4.69/bbl in Q1 FY2013. Vadinar Q1 total throughput was 5.14 million metric tonnes (mmt)/36.34 million barrels (mn bbls), up 15% against 4.48mmt/32.65mn bbls in Q1 FY2013.
At the Stanlow refinery in the UK, throughput during Q1 FY2014 stood at 2.55mmt/19.27mn bbls the company says, compared with 2.61mmt/19.65mn bbls in the same quarter the previous year, in line with expectations.
"Preparations," says Essar, "are at an advanced stage for a planned turnaround at Stanlow in H2 FY2014, allowing major maintenance projects to be completed, including a 25 year re-lifing of the residue catalytic cracking unit, the largest in Europe."