Asia Takes Breather after Days of Declines

Shares in Asia were mostly higher on Friday on the back of a report suggesting the U.S. Federal Reserve could consider a slower tempo of increasing interest rates than had been previously expected.

The Nikkei 225 regained 177.06 points, or 0.8%, to 21,678.68,

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 112.80 against the U.S. dollar after a turbulent session yesterday which saw it touching highs around the 112.3 handle.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dropped 92.62 points, or 0.4%, to 26,063.76

In Japan, shares of Softbank, which saw significant declines in the previous trading day, extended losses as it fell 2.1% on the day. The company had earlier announced that there was no change in its earnings and dividend forecasts after a mobile service outage on Thursday.
Korean stocks nicked higher, with shares of chipmaker SK Hynix rising 1.2%.

Australian markets also regrouped, with almost sectors in positive territory. That was a rebound from Thursday, when the index saw declines amid a broader selloff across the Asia Pacific region.

Shares of Australia’s so-called Big Four banks saw gains on the day. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 0.2%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1% while Westpac advanced 0.2% and National Australia Bank climbed up by 0.3%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7216 U.S. after seeing an earlier high of $0.7242.

Oil prices were on the slide, as Australia’s Santos fell 0.5% and Woodside Petroleum dropped 1.7%. Over in Japan, Inpex fell 1.1% and JXTG declined by 2.6% while Fuji Oil rose 1.5%. South Korea’s S-Oil shed 0.5% and China’s PetroChina slipped 0.4%

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 lost 0.11 points to 3,181.56

In Taiwan, the Taiex index recovered 76.16 points, or 0.8%, to 9,760.88

In Korea, the Kospi index picked up 7.07 points, or 0.3%, at 2,075.76

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index declined 4.4 points, or 0.1%, to 3,111.12

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recouped 9.1 points, or 0.1%, to 8,767.32

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 23.84 points, or 0.4%, to 5,681.49