Asia-Pacific bourses were mostly lower on Friday with Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stocks leading the the Asia Dow Index lower.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was a sea of red, falling 1% with just six of the benchmark's 40 members finishing in positive territory. It was a similar picture on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index - a gauge of mainland Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong - which dropped 1.77% with just one member in the green. Banks and insurance stocks led the declines with Ping An Insurance (2318.HK) falling 2.7%, Bank of East Asia (23.HK) down 2.27% and China Life Insurance (2628.HK) dropping 2.24%. Sunac China (1918.HK) plunged 9.5% after the developer said it would raise HK$7.82 billion (USD1 billion) through a share placement. Other Chinese property developers also declined with China Evergrande (3333.HK) falling 3.27% and China Resources Land (1109.HK) down 1.6%. Li & Fung (494.HK) jumped to its highest since May 2016 after announcing the the $1.1 billion sale of operations in furniture, beauty products and apparel with half of the proceeds given to shareholders via special dividends. Meanwhile, China Education, Hong Kong's biggest IPO to end 2017, had a muted debut ending about 1.5% below the offer price of HKD6.45. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8% lower, while the CSI 300, which tracks large cap companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, closed 1.13% lower.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.62% while the broader Topix closed 0.8% lower despite the quarterly Bank of Japan Tankan survey showing confidence among big Japanese manufacturers rose to its highest since 2006. Tokai Carbon (5301.JP) surged more than 15% to its highest since 2008 after announcing plans to raise domestic graphite electrodes prices, citing a recent rise in raw material prices. Showa Denko (4004.JP), which also produces graphite electrodes rose 11.5% after Daiwa raised its target price on the chemical company's stock to JPY4,900 from JPY4,300. Telecom stocks declined after Rakuten (4755.JP), which is best known for its internet shopping portals, announced plans to Japan's fourth mobile carrier. KDDI (9433.JP) slumped 6.6%, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (9432.JP) fell 5.4%, NTT Docomo (9437.JP) dropped 4.6%, while Rakuten itself slipped 5.5%.
Australia's bellweather S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.24% to below the psychological 6,000 point barrier following further weakness in financial stocks. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) was down 0.6%, ANZ (ANZ.AU) dropped 1%, National Australia Bank (NAB.AU) fell 0.4%, while Westpac (WBC.AU) declined up 0.6%. Transurban (TCL.AU) was the best performer, jumping 4.8% after the toll road developer raised AUD1.35 billion via the institutional portion of it rights offer. Shares in Crown Resorts (CWN.AU) gained 3.2% after announcing several transactions including the sale of a 34.6 acre vacant site on Las Vegas Boulevard for USD300 million. Macquarie Atlas Road (MQA.AU) fell 3.8% after revealing that Macquarie Group had sold an 11.3% stake in the the toll road developer at AUD6 a share to institutional investors. The beleagueredRFG Group (RFG.AU) extended its losses, falling a further 4.6% to a five-year low. Shares in the owner of Brumby's, Donut King and Gloria Jean's brands have plunged 35% since last Friday's close following reports it is running its franchisees into the ground with a brutal business model.
Elsewhere, Korea's KOSPI was the only bright light, rebounding 0.45 higher after sharp end-of-session losses yesterday, while Taiwan's tech-heavy TAIEX closed 0.644% lower.
European markets are lower, with the Euro STOXX 50 down 0.3%, the German DAX 0.35% lower, while the France CAC 40 is down 0.41%.
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