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Asian Shares Pare Losses To End Mixed


Asian stocks reversed early losses to end mixed on Friday as better-than-expected U.S. economic data and higher oil prices offset concerns surrounding deepening political turmoil in Washington and the Brazilian political crisis.

Brazil's real, stocks and bonds tumbled as President Michel Temer faced calls for impeachment in the wake of a corruption scandal. But Temer said he would not resign and prove his innocence in the Supreme Court.

China's Shanghai Composite index ended flat at 3,090.63 after official data showed foreign direct investment into China decreased 4.3 percent from last year in April. However, the benchmark index rose 0.2 percent for the week to snap a five-week losing streak. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 38 points or 0.15 percent at 25,174 in late trade.

Japanese shares closed higher even as the dollar edged lower after a modest recovery overnight. The Nikkei average closed up 36.90 points or 0.19 percent at 19,590.76, but ended the week down about 1.5 percent. The broader Topix index closed 0.30 percent higher at 1,559.73.

Financial stocks saw some bargain hunting after recent heavy losses, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial all ending up over 1 percent.

Takata Corp soared 20 percent after four automakers agreed to pay $553 million to settle with owners of vehicles for losses linked to defective Takata airbag inflators.

Toshiba rallied 3.3 percent on a Nikkei report that U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital is preparing to tender a bid for a 51 percent stake in its memory chip unit.

Australian shares extended losses from the previous session as banks extended recent declines, offsetting gains in the material sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 10.90 points or 0.19 percent to 5,727.40, taking the weekly loss to 1.9 percent. The broader All Ordinaries index slipped 6.60 points or 0.11 percent to finish at 5,768.90.

The big for banks fell between 0.6 percent and 1.9 percent on concerns over the proposed $6 billion tax and overheated property markets. Gold miners Newcrest, Northern Star and Regis Resources shed 1-3 percent after a bounce in the dollar weighed on gold prices overnight.

Origin Energy lost 1.8 percent after it agreed to sell a gas pipeline network in Australia for A$392 million ($291 million). Miners bucked the weak trend, with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rising 1-2 percent, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group soared 5.7 percent.

Seoul shares ended little changed as the first-quarter earnings season came to an end. The benchmark Kospi inched up 1.66 points or 0.07 percent to 2,288.48, with Hyundai Motor and its affiliates rallying after reports they are holding discussions on the holding company structure.

New Zealand shares closed higher after an overnight rebound on Wall Street as the Trump administration took the first step toward renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, helping ease concerns over the president's ability to deliver on his economic agenda.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 20.35 points or 0.28 percent to 7,392.11, with Fletcher Building, Air New Zealand and Kathmandu Holdings climbing 2-4 percent. Ryman Healthcare dropped 1.9 percent on news its chief executive Simon Challies will step down on June 30 for health reasons.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.1 percent after a government report showed the economy grew more than expected in the three months ended March. GDP expanded an annual 5.6 percent, faster than the 4.5 percent rise in the fourth quarter.

Elsewhere, India's Sensex was rising 0.2 percent, while the Taiwan Weighted dropped 0.2 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was marginally lower.

Overnight, U.S. stocks recovered from early losses to finish modestly higher. The Dow rose 0.3 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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