Markets in Asia drift slightly lower after Nasdaq declines


Asian stocks drifted lower early on Friday, with major markets in the region recording slight declines after the mixed close on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 shed 0.11 percent following four straight sessions of gains as banking stocks slipped while consumer stocks edged higher. The broader Topix was little changed.

Elsewhere, the Kospi edged down by 0.32 percent as automakers and technology names traded lower, with Samsung Electronics falling 1.19 percent.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.14 percent amid slight declines seen in most sectors. Materials stocks slipped 0.21 percent and the heavily weighted financials subindex searched for direction, last trading around the flat line.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.38 percent, or 95.02 points, to close at 25,241.41. Other major U.S. indexes finished the session lower, with the Nasdaq composite declining 0.7 percent and bringing an end to its four-day winning streak as large-cap technology shares fell.

Trade developments continued to feature prominently, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross telling CNBC that a deal had been reached with Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE, which had been crippled after U.S. companies were blocked from selling to it.

The deal will impose a $1 billion penalty on ZTE, which will also need to install a U.S.-chosen compliance team, but is facing some pushback from U.S. lawmakers.

Investors will also turn their attention to the G-7 summit taking place in Canada on Friday and Saturday, with the issues related to protectionism and international trade expected to take center stage.

Also in focus was a sell-off in emerging markets, with Brazil leading declines. The iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ), a U.S. exchange-traded fund tracking Brazilian stocks, dropped 5.13 percent.

Investors turned to bonds amid concerns over emerging markets, with U.S. government debt prices rising in the last session. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield declined to 2.92 percent on Thursday from around 2.97 percent seen in the session before that.

On the energy front, oil prices edged higher still after advancing in the last session on investor worries about a drop in Venezuelan exports. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.3 percent to trade at $66.15 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.21 percent to $77.48 after settling almost $2 higher on Thursday.

Ahead, investors will watch for China trade data scheduled for release at 11:00 a.m HK/SIN.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.


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