Asia Stocks End Mixed; Japan Outperforms
Asian shares ended mixed on Friday, dragged lower by a drop in regional technology stocks, although gains in Australia and Japan contained overall losses for equities.
Japan's Nikkei share average outperformed its Asian peers as the yen hit fresh lows versus the dollar and the euro.
The yen's slide bolstered sentiment for Japanese equities as it lifts earnings prospects for exporters, ahead of the quarterly earnings season set to start next week.
(Read More: Another Upside in 'Abenomics'—Improved Earnings)
The Nikkei 225 closed up 2.88 percent at 10,926.65 on Friday, while the broader Topix gained 2.17 percent to 917.09.
South Korean shares fell on the largest foreign selloff in more than a year on weak earnings by automakers and as currency moves spurred profit-taking.
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors plunged 3.4 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.
While tech shares continued to falter as Samsung Electronics announced cautious spending plans for the first time since the global financial crisis, following rival Apple's below-estimate results announced earlier in the week.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.9 percent to close at 1,946.69 points.
Australian shares advanced 0.5 percent ahead of a long weekend, climbing for an eighth straight session and touching a 21-month high on positive economic news from top trading partners.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 25 points at 4,835.2, with volumes heavy in options-related trading. It was the best close since April 28, 2011. Australian markets will be closed on Monday for the Australia Day holiday. New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index finished up 0.2 percent at 4,199.8.
Karoon Gas Australia leapt 14 percent to A$6.15 after it said it had found oil at its Kangaroo-1 well off the coast of Brazil.
Shares in contractor Macmahon Holdings ended down 3.6 percent at A$0.27. Macmahon said it may face a problem at Mongolia's giant Tavan Tolgoi coal mine after April, if its client Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi does not sort out funding difficulties.
China shares closed at their lowest in more than a week, as distiller Kweichow Moutai tumbled 3.5 percent despite reporting a 2012 profit rise of about 50 percent.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed down 0.4 percent at 2,571.7. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.5 percent. Both closed at their lowest since January 17.
This week, they lost 0.9 and 1.1 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong shares sank to their lowest in more than a week, dragged by heavy losses for shares of China Unicom and a sportswear company.
The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.1 percent on the day and 0.1 percent on the week at 23,580.4, its lowest close since January 17. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent this week.
Shares of China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator, fell 3 percent to its lowest in a month after official Chinese media reported government data that could suggest an increasingly saturated market.
Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning tumbled 14.7 percent in its worst loss since July 2011 after the company said it would issue up to $241 million in convertible securities to fund its restructuring.
In India, both the BSE index and the 50-share NSE index ended the day almost 1 percent higher.