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Asian Shares Mixed Amid Trade Anxiety

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Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday after the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) trimmed its outlook for the global economy, saying the world was headed for its weakest economic growth since the 2007-2008 financial crisis amid trade conflicts, weak business investment and political uncertainty.

On the trade front, China said both sides still maintain communication channels, helping ease worries over the possible delay of a preliminary trade deal between the United States and China.

A report from the Wall Street Journal said China's chief trade negotiator has invited his American counterparts to Beijing for a new round of face-to-face talks.

Chinese stocks fell, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing down 18.35 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,885.29 as China upwardly revised its nominal gross domestic product estimate for 2018 by 2.1 percent, reflecting more complete measures of the services sector and assets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5 percent to 26,595.08.

Japanese shares closed higher on bargain hunting following three straight days of losses. Risk sentiment improved a little on fresh hopes that the world's top two economies may delay their plans to roll out new tariffs, originally slated for December 15.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 74.30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,112.88, while the broader Topix inched up 0.1 percent higher to 1,691.34. Exporters finished mostly higher as the yen edged lower against the dollar.

Panasonic fell 1.5 percent after saying it would end all production of liquid crystal display panels by 2021 amid stiff competition from foreign rivals.

On the data front, Japan's private sector continued to contract in November but moved closer to stagnation, survey data from IHS Markit showed. The Jibun Bank flash composite output index rose to 49.9 from 49.1 in October.

Separately, official data showed that overall consumer prices in Japan were up 0.2 percent year-on-year in October. That was unchanged from the September reading, although it was shy of estimates for a gain of 0.3 percent.

Australian markets rebounded from two straight days of losses, with material and energy stocks leading the surge. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 36.90 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,709.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 38.80 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,816.50.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto gained 1.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively after commodity prices ticked higher overnight. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3.9 percent.

Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search, Beach Energy and Origin Energy climbed 1-2 percent after oil prices hit a two-month high on reports that OPEC and its allies are likely to extend output cuts until mid-2020.

Westpac Banking Corp lost 1.6 percent after Investment bank Goldman Sachs cut its target price amid alleged breaches of money laundering laws and associated risks.

Mayne Pharma shares slumped 11 percent after the drug maker reported that its gross profit for the first four months of the year dropped 33 percent.

Australia's private sector saw a renewed contraction in November following no change in October, survey results from IHS Markit showed today. The corresponding index fell to 49.5 from 50.0 in October.

Seoul stocks snapped their four-day losing streak after reports suggested that China has invited top U.S. trade negotiators for a new round of face-to-face talks in Beijing.

The benchmark Kospi rose 5.36 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,101.96, led by technology stocks. Samsung Electronics climbed 1.2 percent and SK Hynix added 1 percent.

New Zealand shares finished slightly lower, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending down 11.86 points, or 0.1 percent, at 10,946.30.

The major U.S. averages ended down around 0.2 percent each overnight as investors reacted to mixed headlines on the trade front and a diplomatic row over the Hong Kong protests.

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