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Asia Drifts, Shanghai Drops on Growth Worries

Asian stocks were mixed in directionless trade on Friday, after Wall Street closed with slight gains.

Japan's Nikkei average finished flat on Friday but logged a gain of 3 percent on the week, its biggest weekly rise in three months.

The benchmark average, which stayed within a sight of a one-month high hit earlier in the week, weaved in and out of negative territory throughout the day, with support holding near
9,800, its 25-day moving average.

The Nikkei fell 4.38 points to 9,995.02, while the broader Topix slipped 0.3 percent to 884.64.

But shares of Toyoda Gosei, a car parts maker affiliated with Toyota Motor, fell 0.4 percent to 2,410 yen, after the company said it has halted production since Thursday afternoon at a plant in Tianjin, China, where it makes products such as instrument panels, due to a strike.

Chip tester maker Advantest pared earlier gains to close 0.2 percent higher 1,998 yen and Tokyo Electron gained 0.5 percent to 5,690yen.

Consumer lenders came under pressure, as new regulations are set to be fully implemented on Friday, including rules limiting how much debt a customer can take on.

Consumer lenders in Japan have already been hit both by regulations that lowered the maximum interest rate they can charge and court rulings forcing them to repay past interest deemed illegally high.

Promise shed 6.1 percent to 648 yen, Takefuji fell 7.6 percent to 279 yen and Acom lost 5.6percent to 1,129 yen.

Seoul shares hit a fresh six-week closing high, fueled by defensive issues such as cosmetics maker Amorepacific.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 0.24 percent at 1,711.95 points, the highest close since early May.

Technology and auto issues fell as investors moved to lock in profits on their recent gains.

Shares in Hynix Semiconductor fell 0.2 percent, after news of a share sale by its shareholder late on Thursday.

Hyundai Motor, the country's leading automaker, retreated 0.3 percent to 144,500 yen.

Shares of Amorepacific hit a historical high as the cosmetic maker's outlook continued to strengthen, analysts said.

Citi in a report earlier this week picked Amorepacific as one of the likely beneficiaries of "rising consumption demand in China on the back of wage inflation."

Shares in Amorepacific ended 0.6 percent higher at 1,012,000 won after hitting a record high of 1,039,000 won.

Other defensives also advanced, with beverage maker Lotte Chilsung up 1.65 percent

Australian shares advanced 0.5 percent, rising 1 percent for the week, supported by
gains in resource stocks as investors continued to hope for a compromise on a proposed new tax on mining profits.

Global miner BHP Billiton tacked on 0.8 percent while smaller rival Rio Tinto trekked 1.1 percent higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 24.56 points to 4,551.9, but volume was light at around 80 percent of an average day.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index nudged up 1.8 points to 3,047.5.

Shares in upmarket department store chain, David Jones ended down 0.4 percent, after falling as much as 4 percent at one stage, on news that its CEO, Mark McInnes, quit after he admitted to "unbecoming" behavior towards a female staff member at two company functions.

In the greater China region, shares in Taiwan finished in the red, as profit-taking set in after the market rose 444 points in five sessions.

Investors remained on edge over the slowdown in slowdown in Euro zone economies due to sovereign debt issues.

The key Taiex share index lost 0.3 percent to 7,493 points.

Selling in China shares gathered pace in the afternoon session, led by continued profit taking in pharmaceutical stocks and as worries about economic growth for the rest of the year pressured already weak market sentiment.

The key stock index dropped more than 2 percent briefly to 2,505.3 points, its biggest daily drop so far this month.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished lower.

Xia Bin, one of three academic advisers on the People's Bank of China's (PBOC) monetary policy committee, said on Friday that China should return to normal monetary policies this year after a surge in lending last year, which would likely cause economic growth to slow in the second half of the year.

Hong Kong stocks trimmed gains after rising to a one-month high on cautious buying.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed higher, adding to gains for the 8th straight session after Wall Street's firmer close. But activity was subdued in the absence of market-moving leads.

Malaysia's KLCI climbed to a fresh 1-month high, as the index tracked mild gains on Wall Street overnight and improved risk appetite.

Singapore's STI ended slightly lower in a lackluster session.