World Economy

Asian Shares End on Muted Note

Asian Shares End on Muted NoteAsian Shares End on Muted Note

Asian stocks closed on a muted note Friday as trade war concerns resurfaced and investors looked ahead to the release of US jobs data for May, due later in the day for direction.

China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 20.34 points or 0.66% to 3,075.14 even as global index provider MSCI Inc. added around 230 mainland-listed Chinese stocks to its flagship Emerging Markets Index and other indexes. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed little changed at 30,492.91, RTTNews reported.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly lower as fears of a global trade war resurfaced. The Nikkei average swung between gains and losses before ending down 30.47 points or 0.14% at 22,171.35. The broader Topix index finished marginally higher at 1,749.17.

While market heavyweight Fast Retailing dropped 1.7%, automaker Mazda Motor rose 1.2% and Toyota Motor climbed 2.9% on a weaker yen. Olympus Corp soared 4% after activist investor ValueAct Capital became a major shareholder in the medical equipment and camera maker.

On the data front, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in May, albeit at a slower rate, with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.8.

Separately, a government report showed that capital spending in Japan grew 3.4% in the first quarter of 2018, exceeding expectations for 3.1%, but slowing from 4.3% in the previous three months.

Australian shares fell modestly, with banks falling heavily as Australia & New Zealand Bank faced criminal cartel charges relating to 2015 equity placement. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 21.50 points or 0.36% to 5,990.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 19.50 points or 0.32% at 6,104.

Seoul stocks closed higher after data showed South Korea’s exports posted a double-digit growth in May, rebounding from a brief dip in the previous month. Investors also digested other reports on manufacturing, first-quarter GDP and inflation. The benchmark Kospi rose 15.95 points or 0.66% to 2,438.96, led by bio and auto stocks.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 22.63 points or 0.26% to 8,636.16 after the release of mixed economic data.

India’s Sensex was down 0.1% and Singapore’s Straits Times index was moving down marginally while the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.7%. The Malaysian and Indonesian markets were closed in observance of the King’s Birthday and Pancasila Day, respectively.

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