Asia Markets

Asian shares mixed; Chinese shares end losing streak

See Kit Tang | News Assistant, CNBC Asia-Pacific

Asian equities were mixed on Friday, despite overnight gains on Wall Street and a raft of positive Japanese economic data.

Several factors flicked the "risk-off mode" switch among investors, one of which was ongoing uncertainty in Ukraine. Another was lingering worry ahead of China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) due for release on Saturday.

(Read more: Armed men takeairport in Ukraine's Crimea)

U.S. stocks rose Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would probably continue tapering its asset purchases while tracking data to figure how much recent softness in the economy is due to the weather.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 advanced 0.5 percent, with the latter hitting a record close of 1,854. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.6 percent.

Shanghai up 0.4%

Mainland shares rebounded from a 1 percent decline in the final hour of trading on Friday to end February in the green. Trading had been sluggish as investors awaited official manufacturing data. Last week, HSBC's flash PMI fell to a seven-month low, hinting at a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

"The market expects the manufacturing PMI to hit 50.1, just above the 50 level which separates contraction from expansion, and given we've seen the index above 50 since September 2012, a contraction could be taken fairly badly by the market," Chris Weston, chief market strategist from IG said in a note.

(Read more: What to expect atChina's big pow wow next week)

The final surge was led by Founder Securities which rallied over 10 percent.

Property stocks also saw significant gains; Vanke and China Merchants Property piled on 2 percent respectively to end the week in the green after taking a beating for the week on news that lenders have stopped credit to property developers on risk concerns.

Sinopec snapped a two-day rally, led by news that the company will soon announce the next stages of its reform plans, to fall 2 percent on Friday.

Reading Japan's latest economic data

Tokyo 0.6% lower

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index was in a slumber on Friday, falling for a third consecutive session. The latest economic data which indicated that the world's third largest economy was off to a great start for 2014 did little to lift the bourse.

"Investors are avoiding risks as they are staying cautious about the situation in Ukraine and emerging markets' assets," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Earlier on Friday, January retail sales figures beat expectations to rise an annual 4.4 percent, posting the fastest annual gain since April 2012. Industrial output data also soared 4 percent in January, marking a second straight month of gains.

(Read more: Japan getsinflation, but is it the 'good' stuff?)

Meanwhile, the core consumer price index was up an annual 1.3 percent, above analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 percent rise. Household spending also impressed on the upside, climbing 1.1 percent in January on-year, well above expectations for a 0.2 percent gain.

Exporter stocks took a beating, amid a stronger yen which went above the 102 level to trade at 101.75 against the U.S. dollar. Automakers Toyota Motor lost 1.2 percent while Suzuki Motor slumped 2 percent. Fast Retailing saw a dropped 1.4 percent.

Sony however bucked the trend, rising rise more than 1 percent, after Citigroup raised its rating to "buy" from "neutral", citing bigger-than-expected growth in its gaming business.

Qantas CEO: We have the confidence of the board

Sydney sheds 0.1%

Australian shares erased earlier gains of nearly 0.5 percent to edge lower on Friday, on mixed earning reports. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 index had seen its biggest one-day loss in three weeks on Thursday, as flagship carrier Qantas' dismal earnings report weighed on sentiment.

Qantas Airways recovered from a 9 percent slump to claw back 0.9 percent. Rival Virgin Australia recovered from losses to trade unchanged, as a bruising price war with rival Qantas took a toll, resulting in a pre-tax loss of A$49.7 million ($44.55 million) for its fiscal first half.

Australian supermarket and grocery store chain Woolworths dropped 1 percent, despite interim net profit beating expectations to rise 14.5 percent.

Banking stocks dwindled in the red; Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.8 percent while Westpac and National Australian Bank dropped 0.2 and 0.7 percent each.

Seoul flat

South Korean shares hovered near modest gains and losses all day and eventually eked out 0.08 percent gain to end in the green. Concerns about China and its weakening yuan had weighed on sentiment.

Blue-chip stocks were mainly down; Posco and Kepco pulled down the bourse with over 1 percent falls respectively.

Outperforming the bourse was Naver which rose 3 percent. The stock has been moving on reports earlier this week that SoftBank is seeking to buy a stake in Naver's mobile-messaging service Line.

SK Holdings continued to trade in positive territory with a 1 percent gain, despite its chairman Chey Tae-won receiving a four-year prison sentence for embezzlement on Thursday. This was one of the longest confirmed prison terms for a business leader in South Korea.

India rises 0.6%

Indian shares finished near a five-week high, ahead of the release of its third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data later in the day.

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