Asia Stronger on Better U.S. Finish

Asia markets were mostly higher on Friday after a strong session in the U.S. amid caution following a suspected terrorist shooting in Paris ahead of the first round of the presidential election at the weekend.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan grew 190.26 points, or 1%, to close the week at 18,620.75

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index retreated 14.96 points, or 0.1%, to 24,042.02

In corporate news, Western Digital is mulling a joint bid with Japanese government-backed players for Toshiba's semiconductor business.
Shares of the Japanese conglomerate were down 5.7% to close at 207.3 yen a stock.

Still in the tech space, shares of Samsung Electronics were higher by 1.2% ahead of the release of its new Galaxy S8 smartphone Friday to close at 2,038,000 won a stock. The company said last week that pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 had surpassed those for the S7.

Australian gains were driven by their materials and utilities sub-indexes which were up 1.8% and 2% respectively.

Over in Australia, shares of Coca Cola Amatil plunged 10.5% to close at A$9.61 a stock after the company downgraded earnings forecasts due to weaker trade in Australian beverages.

One policeman was killed and two were injured after a gunman opened fire in central Paris on Thursday night.

The shooting took place just before voters head to the polls in a tightly contested presidential race, with centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen leading the pack ahead of the first round of voting with none of the candidates expected to command the 50% needed to win outright, leading to a second round runoff on May 7.

Investors were also focused on fresh comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that tax reform plans could be unveiled soon.

In other markets

The CSI 300 in Shanghai gained 4.62 points, or 0.1%, to 3,466.71

In Taiwan, the Taiex index jumped 84.72 points, or 0.9%, to 9,717.41

The Kospi Index in Korea picked up 15.89 points, or 0.7%, to 2,165.04

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index eked higher 1.95 points, or 0.1%, to 3,139.83

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 rose 9.17 points, or 0.1%, to 7,197.22

In Australia, the ASX 200 index progressed 32.75 points, or 0.6%, to 5,854.14