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Asian shares mixed in light trade, Nikkei flat

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - Asian shares were lightly traded Friday with Japan flat.

The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.1%, as investors took a step back following four straight days of gains.

In mainland China, stocks were near flat in the absence of encouraging headlines about the economy. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.1% with investors reluctant to chase blue chips stocks that have rallied recently.

Still, investors have turned more positive on China compared with earlier in the year. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.4%, reflective of de-escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.3% and South Korea's KOSPI was trading roughly flat.

ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) shares were last down 0.8%, after the firm reported weaker-than-expected profits in the third quarter.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose as fears faded that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was poised to escalate.

The Dow 30 rose 0.37%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.43%, while the NASDAQ Composite index also rose 0.43%.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said while his country would defend itself, Moscow has no plans to engage in conflict with the rest of the world over Ukraine.

Putin's soothing words allowed stocks to climb by allaying fears that the Ukraine conflict and subsequent sanctions slapped on Russia will weigh on global recovery, which offset disappointing U.S. data.

The U.S. Labor Department reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 9 increased by 21,000 to 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of 290,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 295,000 last week.

Meanwhile in the Mideast, Israel and Palestinian delegates extended a truce for five days on Wednesday to figure out ways to end the Gaza conflict, which also allowed U.S. stocks to climb.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with reports on manufacturing activity in New York state and industrial output, as well as preliminary data on consumer sentiment.

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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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