ASX sheds 0.1%
After a choppy session, Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 index ended down slightly in negative territory at a four-month low, and concluding its worst week in three years.
The index fell 4.8 percent this week amid a relatively data-heavy week for the Australian market, having received a better-than-expected growth report card for the first quarter, alongside dismal retail sales and trade data for April. Earlier in the week, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held interest rates steady at its monthly policy meeting.
The lift from firmer iron ore prices faded throughout the trading day. Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto advanced 1.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively, but BHP Billiton closed down 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, Recall Holdings is seeking to renegotiate a $2.2 billion deal to be acquired by Boston-based Iron Mountain, according to Australian media reports. Shares of the data protection services provider tanked 1.1 percent.
Nine Entertainment Co. said after the market close that annual pre-tax profit will be lower than previously forecast because of worsening conditions in the advertising market. Shares of the Sydney-based firm slipped 0.25 percent on Friday.
Nikkei sags 0.1%
Japan's Nikkei 225 index saw muted moves on the final trading day of the week, as the dollar-yen traded rangebound around 124.4. For the week, the Tokyo bourse shed 0.5 percent.
With little impetus from the currency, export-oriented plays were lower across the board. Among blue chip stocks, Sony slumped 1.05 percent, while Toyota Motor and Mitsubishi Electric closed down 0.7 and 0.9 percent, respectively.
Sharp eased 0.6 percent after Kyodo News reported that the troubled electronics maker is set to post a net loss of 180 billion yen in the fiscal year ending March 2016.
Profit takers swooped in on banks and insurers after recent gains. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group lost nearly 2 percent each, while Dai-ichi Life Insurance and T&D Holdings sold down 2.5 and 2.2 percent, respectively.
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Kospi sheds 0.2%
South Korea's Kospi index declined amid growing alarm over the country's outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). As of Friday, there have been four deaths in the country.
Among losers, LG Display closed down 3.7 percent on the back of fresh data that showed a fall in display panel prices across the industry. Earlier in the session, shares receded as much as 4.5 percent to touch their lowest levels in almost a year.
Cheil Industries and affiliate Samsung C&T Corp saw another day of robust gains, finishing 3.1 and 9.5 percent higher, respectively. Both companies' shares have been buoyed by comments from U.S.-based hedge fund Elliott, which bought a 7.1 percent stake in Samsung C&T, while opposing the all-stock takeover offer from Cheil Industries - Samsung Group's de facto holding company.
Meanwhile, Samsung C&T announced Thursday that it won a $682.3 million deal to build a road in Australia.
For the week, the Seoul bourse lost 2.2 percent, suffering its sharpest weekly loss since mid-December.