Asia Markets

Asian stocks hurt by soft earnings; Nikkei up on weak yen

Soft corporate earnings weighed on Asia's major indices on Friday, with Tokyo outperforming on the back of a weaker currency, while mounting anxiety over growing tensions in Ukraine lingered in the backdrop.

Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears that Russian troops would step in.

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U.S. stocks were mixed on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5 percent on Apple's gains a day after the tech giant posted sound second-quarter earnings results. However, worries about growing instability in the Crimean peninsula weighed on the broader stock market.

The was little changed while the eked out a 0.2 percent gain.

Australia and New Zealand markets were closed for Anzac Day.

Tokyo rebounds 0.2%

A weaker yen allowed Japanese shares to claw back midday losses and eventually end Friday's trade marginally higher. The currency was trading at 102.3 against the greenback.

Earlier in the day, the benchmark Nikkei made gains of nearly 0.6 percent on core consumer prices which rose 1.6 percent on-year in March before dipping into negative territory at the start of the afternoon session.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said the March figures showed that things are proceeding well in Japan's efforts to shake off deflation.

Automaker Honda notched up 1 percent. The firm reported a below-view forecast for its net profit this business year after trading hours, saying it expects to post 595 billion yen ($5.8 billion) compared with the 700 billion yen mean estimate in a Reuters poll.

Mazda slipped 0.2 percent. The automaker announced that it was expecting an 18 percent rise in net profit for the year, in line with Reuters analysts' expectations, on late Friday.

Mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo elevated 0.8 percent on news that it will unload its 26 percent stake in India's Tata Teleservices, ending a trouble-ridden foray into India.

Tokyo core CPI logs fastest gain since 1992
Tokyo core CPI logs fastest gain since 1992

Shanghai slips 1%

Chinese shares ended the week at a three-week low of 2,036 points after seeing range bound trade all of Friday.

The cut in Reserve Ratio Requirements for rural banks and pending earnings results put lenders in the spotlight for the day. China Minsheng Banking widened losses on late Friday to over 1 percent.

China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China climbed 0.3 and 0.4 percent each.

The biggest loser for the day was Kweichou Moutai with a nearly 7 percent loss, after posting its weakest quarterly profit in three quarters amid a graft crackdown in the mainland.

Guanghui Energy rose nearly 5 percent after it announced plans to issue preferred shares in a bid to raise 5 billion yuan ($800 million) in a private placement pending regulatory approval. This marks the mainland's first-ever sale of preferred shares.

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Seoul falls 1.4%

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index ended the week at its lowest level since March 28 following a series of soft earnings announcements.

Hyundai Motor dropped 2.5 percent after reporting a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit on the back of a strong Korean .

Korea Electric Power tumbled 4 percent on the back of a 40.1 percent on-year decline in operational profit for the first-quarter of 2014.

Traders will be looking out for the January-March operating profit of smartphone maker Samsung Electronics which fell into negative territory at the last trading hour. Its shares lost 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Seoul at midday for his week-long Asia tour.