Asia Rises as Dollar Steadies

Asian shares finished the quarter on a largely positive note on Friday as the U.S. dollar nursed its wounds after slipping overnight. Markets also digested a raft of data out of Japan.

The Nikkei 225 index docked 6.83 points to 20,356.28, as moderate losses in automakers and several heavyweight tech stocks weighed on the broader market.

The Hang Seng Index gained 132.7 points, or 0.5%, to 27,554.30

Investors also digested the release of economic data out of Japan: August core consumer prices rose 0.7% compared with a year earlier, marking an eighth consecutive month of yearly increases. Retail sales increased 1.7% last month compared with the previous year, missing a median estimate for a 2.6% rise.

Industrial production data, however, beat forecasts. August figures showed an increase of 2.1% compared with the previous month, above the 1.9% median forecast

In corporate news, Toshiba on Thursday signed an agreement to sell its memory chip unit to a group led by Bain Capital for two trillion yen ($18 billion U.S.). Still, the saga has yet to conclude: Western Digital, which is involved in a joint venture with the Japanese conglomerate, has sought an injunction to prevent Toshiba from selling the unit. Toshiba stock closed up 2.9%, outperforming other tech stocks in Japan.

Meanwhile, restaurant chain Genki Sushi finished the session up 4% following news it would be merging with Akindo Sushiro, the largest conveyor-belt sushi eatery in Japan

Korean markets strengthened, as most manufacturing, retail and oil stocks posted gains. Automakers were also significantly higher: Hyundai Motor closed up 2.4% and Kia Motors rose 2.6%

Still in South Korea, regulators said on Friday they would ban new initial coin offerings, according to Reuters, adding that the trade in virtual currencies in the country had to be more closely supervised.

The U.S. dollar was flat after losing steam on Thursday. The greenback had surged on optimism following the release of the GOP's tax reform plans on Wednesday. The plan called for a lower corporate tax rate and would cut the highest individual income tax rate.

The U.S. currency, however, inched higher against the yen following the release of a raft of economic data early in the session. The greenback traded at 112.60 late Friday afternoon local time, up from levels around 112.4 earlier, but below the 113 touched during Asian trade on Thursday.

Several markets, including South Korea and China, will be shut next week for public holidays.

In other markets

The CSI 300 gained 13.96 points, or 0.4%, to 3,836.50

In Taiwan, the Taiex index regained 33.49 points, or 0.3%, to 10,329.94

In Korea, the Kospi index picked up 21.33 points, or 0.9%, to 2,394.47

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 7.23 points, or 0.2%, to 3,219.91

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 16.78 points, or 0.2%, to 7,930.40

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 11.23 points, or 0.2%, to 5,681.61