Asia Mixed as Markets Seek Direction

Markets in Asia traded mixed on Friday as investors searched for guidance on developments in the U.S.-China trade war and in the U.K.’s planned divorbe from the European Union.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 49.21 points, or 0.2%, to 22,799.81.

The Japanese yen, considered a safe-haven asset, changed hands at 108.63 per U.S. dollar

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index slumped 130.56 points, or 0.5%, to 26,667.39

Korea enjoyed more gains as shares of major chipmaker SK Hynix jumped 3.6%.

The company revealed third-quarter earnings on Thursday where revenue faltered 40% on-year and net profit was down 89% for the same period. Still, revenue rose 6% from the previous quarter due to signs of demand recovery and pricing in the memory chip market.

Rival Samsung Electronics traded up 0.39%. The world’s largest smartphone and chipmaker is due to release official earnings on Oct. 31, but previously in guidance said it expects operating profit to drop by more than half from a year ago.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.6825.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 muscled back up 26.12 points, or 0.7%, to 3,896.79

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke Thursday on the relationship between the United States and China. In prepared remarks, Pence said Washington "does not seek confrontation with China," nor does it want to "contain China’s development."

Still, Pence criticized Beijing’s construction of a "surveillance state," and "increasingly provocative" military action, as well as its handling of the protests in Hong Kong

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex dropped 24.02 points, or 0.2%, to 11,296.12

In Korea, the Kospi added 2.23 points, or 0.1%, to 2,087.89

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index took on 16.66 points, or 0.5%, to 3,185.53

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 42.88 points, or 0.4%, to 10,788.64

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 45.58 points, or 0.7%, to 6,739.22