Uneven Session in Asia Following Trump Comments

Asian markets closed mixed on Friday as the dollar wobbled after gaining overnight following comments from U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Nikkei 225 average in Japan fell 37.61 points, or 0.2%, to 23,631.88,

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong hiked 499.67 points, or 1.5%, to 33,154.12

Major Japanese exporters finished the session mixed while financial names largely declined. Fanuc Manufacturing closed higher by 0.3%

Automakers provided a mixed picture. Toyota rose 0.2% and Honda closed lower by 0.2%. Suzuki Motor fell 3.5% after Maruti Suzuki India announced quarterly profit that was below expectations

Data released Friday showed December consumer prices in Japan were stable. The core consumer price index increased 0.9% in December compared to one year ago, a figure that was in line with expectations. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.3% last month.

Retailers were mixed, with Fast Retailing advancing 0.4% by the end of the day.

Japan's Fujitsu is in talks about selling its mobile phone unit to Polaris Capital, but no decision had been made yet. An agreement, worth as much as 50 billion yen ($456 million U.S.), could be due at the end of January, local media said. Fujitsu shares closed up 1.2%, outperforming most other Japanese tech shares.

In Korea, tech stocks traded mixed: Samsung Electronics rose 1% while SK Hynix slipped 0.4% by the end of the day, giving up some of the gains made after it announced record-high quarterly profit on Thursday.

Shares of South Korean department store chain Shinsegae and E-Mart, its discount chain affiliate, surged 9.8% and 15%, respectively. The bounce came after news that the companies had signed a memorandum of understanding for more than one trillion won ($940 million) in investment for an online business spin-off, according to a translation of a filing.

Automakers were broadly lower after Hyundai Motor reported a fall in annual operating income on Thursday. Hyundai Motor declined 3.8%

In Hong Kong, gains in large cap financials drove the broader index higher on the day, with China Construction Bank gaining 5.4% ahead of the market close. Tech heavyweight Tencent rose 2.4%.

Property developers also notched gains during the session: Country Garden jumped 2.6% and Henderson Land rose 3.7%.

Against the yen, the U.S. dollar edged down to trade at 109.18.

The dollar was slightly pressured after edging higher overnight on comments from Trump that he "ultimately" wanted a strong dollar. He added that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments about the currency had been "taken out of context."


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 upped 16.22 points, or 0.4%, to 4,381.30

Meanwhile, data released earlier showed profits made by industrial companies in China grew 10.8% last month compared to one year ago

In other markets

Australian markets were shuttered for holiday

The Kospi in Korea gained 12.53 points, or 0.5%, to 2,574.76

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index lost 18.85 points, or 0.2%, to 11,147.10

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index retreated 5.48 points, or 0.2%, to 3,567.14

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 let go of 58.36 points, or 0.7%, to 8,311.42