Asia Lower as Investors Turn Cautious

Asia-Pacific markets struggled for gains Friday as investors turned cautious, despite a positive finish stateside in the previous session.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 resumed trading Friday after a holiday on Thursday, losing 241.34 points, or 0.8%, to 28,812.63.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 108.87 per U.S. dollar, comparatively weaker than levels below 108.00 that it traded at last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index crumbled 578.38 points, or 2%, to 28,724.88.

Australian markets got bruised with most sectors lower. Energy lost 1.7% and materials finished down 1.3%, while the heavily-weighted financials sub-index lost 0.7%.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar traded higher by 0.08% at $0.7770.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gave back 40.68 points, or 0.8%, to 5,123.49.

Data showed China’s factory activity expanded at a slower-than-expected pace in April as the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index fell to 51.1, from 51.9 in March. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

In other markets

Markets in Taiwan were shuttered for holiday.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index retreated 3.31 points, or 0.1%, to 3,218.27.

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 26.21 points, or 0.8%, to 3,147.86.

In New Zealand the NZX 50 jumped 15.93 points, or 0.1%, to 12,731.13

In Australia, the ASX 200 dumped 56.46 points, or 0.8%, to 7,025.82.