By V. Phani Kumar, Colin Ng and Wei-Zhe Tan
Santos /zigman2/quotes/207349564/delayed AU:STO +0.80% lost 1.1% and Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL +1.92% /zigman2/quotes/206334215/delayed WOPEY +2.56% shed 2.2% in Sydney, while Cnooc Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204964401/composite CEO +3.75% /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 0.00% tumbled 3.3% and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec /zigman2/quotes/202783176/composite SNP +3.37% /zigman2/quotes/202085942/delayed HK:386 0.00% , gave up 2.2% in Hong Kong, and Cairn India fell 0.3% in Mumbai trading.
Most gold producers also sustained losses. Gold prices fell Thursday and as lingering concerns weighed over slowing global demand after weaker-than-expected economic data out of the U.S. and China recently.
Shares of Zhongjin Gold /zigman2/quotes/207741711/delayed CN:600489 -0.93% tumbled 4.9% and Shandong Gold-Mining /zigman2/quotes/200150484/delayed CN:600547 +0.04% sank 4.6% in Shanghai, with Zijin Mining Group /zigman2/quotes/203833875/delayed CN:601899 -5.24% /zigman2/quotes/209836076/delayed ZIJMF +2.46% skidding 3.2% in Hong Kong, Newcrest Mining /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM -0.75% /zigman2/quotes/203286036/delayed NCMGY -0.39% losing 3.2% in Sydney and Sumitomo Metal Mining /zigman2/quotes/205273301/delayed JP:5713 +1.12% shedding 0.9% in Tokyo.
August Nymex crude-oil futures moved up 21 cents at $73.16 a barrel. Spot gold was at $1,211.80 per troy ounce, up $12.40 from late dealings Thursday in New York.
Also lower, shares of Aluminum Corp. of China /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 -6.69% /zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite ACH -0.92% fell 3.2% in Hong Kong after announcing the termination of a planned bauxite-mine investment in Australia due to "various unfavorable factors" and on reports it had cut alumina spot prices by 7%.
In Seoul, shipbuilders and steelmakers advanced although broad market demand was subdued.
Posco /zigman2/quotes/209201002/composite PKX +1.57% rose 1.3% and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. added 3% on bargain-hunting after recent losses. Samsung Heavy Industries added 2.4% after winning a 1.27 trillion-won ($1.03 billion) order to build 10 container ships in Asia.
However, GS Engineering tumbled 4.4% on news its 1.42 trillion-won South Pars gas plant project in Iran had been cancelled due to sanctions by the United Nations against Teheran.
Buyers test the Tokyo waters
Japanese stocks inched higher as bargain buyers scooped up exporters that had recently been heavily sold. The buying was fueled by the U.S. dollar's rise from Thursday.
"It's not that worries about a strong yen have abated, but current share prices are attractive," said Yoshinori Nagano, senior strategist at Daiwa Asset Management.
Shares of Canon /zigman2/quotes/210242912/composite CAJ +3.43% /zigman2/quotes/207639533/delayed JP:7751 +1.13% rose 1.1%, helped also by Mizuho Securities' upgrade to outperform from a neutral rating previously, while Kyocera /zigman2/quotes/204880749/delayed JP:6971 -0.94% added 0.9% and Sony /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE -2.18% /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.53% rose 0.6%.
Toshiba /zigman2/quotes/204149068/delayed TOSYY +1.62% /zigman2/quotes/205628942/delayed JP:6502 -0.17% gained 1.6%, rising as the company said that it's jointly developing car battery systems with Mitsubishi Motors /zigman2/quotes/202404490/delayed JP:7211 +0.52% /zigman2/quotes/200876874/delayed MMTOF -1.83% , and that it hopes to eventually supply rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for use in the auto maker's electric cars. Mitsubishi shares ended unchanged.
Elsewhere in the region, New Zealand's NZX 50 gained 0.2% and Philippine stocks ended 0.7% lower. Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.6%, Indonesian shares fell 0.3% and Thailand's SET Index advanced 0.3%.
In foreign-exchange markets, the euro was confined to a range against the U.S. dollar, as traders avoided large positions ahead of the numbers on nonfarm payrolls.
The euro was at $1.2501 compared with $1.2514 in late New York trading Thursday and at 110.15 Japanese yen, from 109.58 yen. The dollar was at 87.97 yen from 87.56 yen.
"Recently, markets have found it hard to decide whether to sell the [U.S. dollar] due to weaker economic data or buy it on higher risk aversion," said Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in a note.
Credit Agricole said weak recent data -- including Thursday's U.S. pending-home sales, the Institute for Supply Management's June manufacturing index and weekly jobless claims -- have weighed on the greenback. "The news will probably get much worse today, with the release of the U.S. June jobs report set to deliver further disappointment," it added.
Lead September Japanese government bond futures contract fell 0.28 to 141.60 points, while the 10-year cash JGBs were three basis points higher at 1.090%.