Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as uncertainty about new U.S. fiscal stimulus coupled with the resurgence in coronavirus cases in Europe stoked concerns about a global economic recovery.
A stalemate in U.S. stimulus negotiations continued despite President Donald Trump’s offer to increase the size of a fiscal stimulus package.
Chinese shares rose slightly as investors looked ahead to the release of third-quarter GDP data next week. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 4.18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,336.36, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 228.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,386.79.
Japanese shares retreated as coronavirus infections climbed across Europe, raising concerns about the outlook for a global economic recovery. Expectations of new stimulus measures by the government and Fast Retailing’s upbeat annual earnings forecast helped limit the downside to some extent.
The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 96.60 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,410.63, while the broader Topix ended 0.9 percent lower at 1,617.69.
Heavyweight Fast Retailing jumped 4.3 percent. The operator of the Uniqlo and GU casual clothing brands, reported a 44 percent drop in profit for the year ended August 2020 but projected a record net profit for the current fiscal year.
Fujifilm Holdings advanced 2.5 percent after saying it was seeking to have its flu drug Avigan approved in Japan as a treatment for Covid-19.
Australian markets fell as lower iron ore prices amid waning hopes for additional U.S. fiscal stimulus pulled down mining stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 33.50 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,176.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 29.20 points, or 0.5 percent, at 6,385.
Mining giant Rio Tinto shed 0.9 percent after it reported a 4.6 percent drop in third quarter iron ore shipments. Rival BHP lost 1.4 percent.
Banks ANZ and Westpac fell