By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets finished mostly lower to end the trading week on Friday, with Chinese stocks logging the worst weekly return since last year and a continued drop in oil prices also depressing some markets.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.17% fell 0.2% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.19% edged up 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.19% slid 1.1%, for a 5.6% drop, its worst weekly finish since October 2018. The market has been dogged this week by concerns that the Chinese government will slow its economic stimulus efforts.
Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, giving assurance that the yuan exchange rate will be stable at reasonable levels. The yuan climbed 0.2% on the news.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.23% was down 0.5%. Stocks were about flat in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.56% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.16% , but down in Taiwan . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.58% finished down 0.5%.
Among individual stocks, Nintendo slumped in Tokyo trading after issuing an “ultra-conservative guidance” for the year following earnings. SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -1.51% also fell, while Yahoo Japan /zigman2/quotes/207641152/delayed JP:4689 +1.09% jumped. In Hong Kong, Country Garden /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 0.00% and AAC Technologies /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -0.62% rise while CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -0.11% slipped. Shares of Hong Kong Airlines parent HNA Group /zigman2/quotes/203177958/delayed CN:600221 +1.19% fell amid a battle for control of the company . LG Electronics /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 +1.95% and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 -0.62% declined in South Korea, as did Taiwan Semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -0.47% in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +1.72% and Fortescue Metals /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG +0.67% dropped in Australia.
Oil prices pulled back from multi-month highs Thursday, and U.S.-based West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery and June Brent crude , the global benchmark, continued to slide Friday.
“End of U.S.-Iran sanctions waivers are still the principle focus,” Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management, said in a note. “But perhaps price action was a bit to too enthusiastic.”