By Dow Jones Newswire
Most Asia-Pacific stock indexes generally lost ground on Friday, though Japan’s Nikkei was an exception.
The Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.45% firmed 0.9% to close at 22,601.77. Drugmaker Eisai /zigman2/quotes/203064480/delayed JP:4523 +0.89% climbed 2.7%% amid local reports that the company is set to reach its mid-term business-plan profit target a full year ahead of schedule, through funds obtained from a Merck partnership to market a cancer drug in Europe.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.0055% closed down 0.4% at 27,671.87, with big insurer AIA /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 +0.45% dropping 2.7% after it posted earnings and reported it had to book substantial mark-to-market losses following a rise in global interest rates. Peer China Life /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 +0.91% ended down 1.6% following its in-line results. Meanwhile, Landing International Development /zigman2/quotes/204873534/delayed HK:582 -1.36% skidded another 16% after the casino operator said its chairman and controlling shareholder wasn’t reachable Thursday. Shares plunged 35% Thursday morning before a trading halt.
Larger Chinese stocks nudged higher. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.13% added 0.2% to 2,729.43 after another roller-coaster ride, putting the week’s gain at 2.3%. But smaller caps eased, with the Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.73% closing down 0.2% at 1,460.33, although it gained more than 1% for the week. Financials led the day’s gains, with Bank of Chengdu /zigman2/quotes/209364872/delayed CN:601838 +1.05% surging 7%. Utilities and energy were laggards. Late Thursday, trade talks between the U.S. and China ended with no apparent progress.
Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.47% bounced between losses and gains after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister, replaced by Treasurer Scott Morrison. The benchmark ended marginally higher at 6,247.30, enough for its first rise in four sessions. Financial stocks continued their recent decline; among the nation’s Big Four banks, Westpac /zigman2/quotes/203084975/delayed AU:WBC -1.56% was the day’s biggest decliner, losing 2.4%. But unlike recent days, the rest of the market was able to more than offset that. Health care jumped 2.1%, hitting record highs again, and consumer names rose more than 1%.
Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.04% rose 0.5% to 2,293.21. Benchmarks in Taiwan , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.68% and Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI +0.26% all fell as well, though New Zealand’s benchmark NSX-50 /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.56% gained slightly, although the rebound wasn’t quite enough for the index to log its fourth record closing high of the week. It rose 0.2% to 9,159.63, bringing the gain for the week to 1.2%.