Asia Trades Cautiously After N.A. Gains

Asian markets traded somewhat uncertainly on Friday, following a higher lead from Wall Street as markets in the U.S. took a breather after their worst day of the year.

The Nikkei 225 recovered 36.9 points, or 0.2%, to 19,590.76,

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index hiked 38.35 points, or 0.2%, to 25,174.87

In corporate news, Japan's Toshiba was back in the spotlight on news that state-backed fund Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) would sell a fifth of its shares in Renesas Electronics ahead of the sale of Toshiba's chip unit. The move would add to the coffers of INCJ, which is expected by market watchers to bid for Toshiba's memory chip unit. Shares of Toshiba ended the session 3.3%higher at 232.5 yen a share.

Meanwhile, Bain Capital's bid for Toshiba's memory chip arm is likely to leave a stake of the unit in the hands of Toshiba, according to media reports.This stake could possibly be controlled by the Japanese conglomerate or INCJ.

Japanese automakers also made the headlines, with Toyota, Subaru and Mazda agreeing to settle a lawsuit over their use of faulty Takata airbags. Toyota shares ended 0.6% higher, Mazda Motor added 1.4% and Subaru shares closed up by 0.3%

Shares of automotive parts maker Takata surged 20.3% on the back of news of the settlement to end at 475 yen a share.

The U.S. dollar-yen pairing also recovered to trade at 111.45, off the low of 110.51 seen in the previous session.

Australian markets were down, largely driven by their financials and industrials sub-indexes.

ANZ ending the session down by 1.9% at A$28.50 a share. Westpac tumbled 1% to A$30.85 a share and AMP declined 1% to finish at A$5.08.

In other markets

Shanghai’s CSI 300 gained 5.74 points, or 0.2%, to 3,403.85

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index fell 21.83 points, or 0.2%, to 9,947.62

In Korea, the Kospi index inched up 1.66 points, or 0.1%, to 2,288.48

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slipped 4.74 points, or 0.2%, to 3,216.92

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 20.35 points, or 0.3%, to 7,392.11

In Australia, the ASX 200 let go of 10.9 points, or 0.2%, to 5,727.41