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Asian shares mixed with Greater China in focus

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Investing.com - Shares in Asia were mixed on Friday with China in focus after the country's banking regulator sought more information on credit risks linked to loans to major companies that bought major assets abroad.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rsoe 0.1% in early trade. On the Mainland, the Shanghai Composite eased 0.25% and the Shenzhen Composite fell 0.15%. Investors are likely to keep an eye on developments in mainland Chinese markets after the Shenzhen exchange tumbled 1.29% overnight. Media reports said that regulators had asked banks to review their exposure to Chinese firms involved in large acquisitions over the last few years.

Among companies said to be in the spotlight, shares of Fosun International were up by 1.02% in Hong Kong after closing almost 6% in the previous session. Wanda Film, a unit of the Dalian Wanda Group, was off by 0.83% after resuming trade on the Shenzhen exchange today. The company's shares were suspended from trade on Thursday after falling by 10%.

The regulator's move comes days after MSCI announced it would include 222 mainland Chinese stocks to its benchmark emerging markets index. While the move was cheered by some investors, others said more work needed to be done by authorities to further open up markets.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was flat.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.07%, weighed by weakness in its financials sub-index which declined 0.72 percent. Over in Australia, banking stocks were mixed after the South Australia government announced a new tax on ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Macquarie. The move comes after the federal government announced a levy on the country's largest banks last month.

Shares of ANZ declined 0.65%t and National Australia Bank eased 0.81%, but Westpac rose 0.17%.

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed mixed on Thursday, as a surge in health care stocks was offset by a slump in financials, as banks prepared to release their latest stress test results.

Health stocks extended gains from previous session, as investors look ahead to the unveiling of Senate's health care bill, which aims to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Under the bill, reimbursements to health insurance companies would continue for at least two years, however, both taxes and the expansion of Medicaid's program - popular components of Obamacare - would be phased out.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week.

Financials, mostly banks, came under pressure during the session, weighing on the broader market as investors braced for the results 34 banks that were subject to the Fed's stress tests. Shares of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) closed more than 1% lower.

The tests are part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms instituted after the financial crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 21,397.29. The S&P 500 closed 0.05% lower while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6236.69, up 0.04%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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