Asia Markets

Asia equities finish lower despite US gains; China PMI awaited

Asian equities ended mostly lower on Friday as caution ahead of Chinese manufacturing data overshadowed another record finish on the S&P 500 overnight.

The S&P 500 index hit another all-time high on Thursday as investors shrugged off a weak gross domestic product (GDP) reading. Revised GDP for the first quarter contracted by 1 percent, marking its worst performance in three years.

China's official manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) for May is due on Sunday. The figure is forecast to edge up to 50.6, according to economists polled by Reuters, which would be above April's 50.4 reading.

Nikkei drops 0.3%

Japan's benchmark index snapped its six-day winning streak, ending the week 1.2 percent higher and posting its first monthly gain in five months.

A stronger currency weighed on sentiment the yen traded near a one-week high against the dollar following a raft of economic reports for April. Data released before the market open showed core consumer price inflation hit a 23-year high last month while household spending and factory output fell more than expected.

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"Even if we exclude the impact of April's consumption tax hike, we confirm that the underlying trend of inflation is picking up above the 1 percent level. It is fair to say that Japan has gotten out of its deflation condition," said Junko Nishioka, chief Japan economist at RBS.

Among the biggest losers, Credit Saison lost 3.5 percent while Fujitsu lost 2 percent.

China shares quiet

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite ended flat following a quiet session while the yuan posted its third straight weekly loss against the dollar. For the month, the index posted a 0.6 percent gain.

Real-estate stocks declined despite the country's banking regulator saying that overall property loan risk is controllable and that it would act to prevent any contagion. Gemdale lost 3.7 percent while Poly Real Estate fell 1.6 percent.

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Hong Kong stocks rose 0.3 percent, rebounding from the previous day's 0.3 percent dip.

ASX dips 0.5%

Declining commodity prices weighed on Australia's resource-heavy benchmark , but the index still managed to add 0.3 percent gain for the week, its third straight week of gains. For May, it eked out a small 0.1 percent rise.

Atlas Iron lost nearly 5 percent while Mount Gibson fell 4 percent after iron ore fell to new 20-month lows.

Lynas slumped over 17 percent after the firm underwent a share purchase plan with a discounted price of $A0.113 a share.

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Kospi 0.8% lower

South Korean shares extended losses into a second session as blue-chip stocks were sold off, but still managed to post a 1.7 percent gain for the month of May.

Hyundai Motor lost over 2 percent while LG Display fell 4 percent. Samsung Electronics erased earlier gains to close down 1 percent.

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Emerging markets higher

Thailand's benchmark SET Index added 0.5 percent after more than 1,000 army troops and police sealed off one of Bangkok's busiest intersections on Thursday to stop a planned protest against last week's coup.

Indian shares finished flat ahead of the release of gross domestic product (GDP) for the January to March quarter. The data showed growth of 4.6 percent year-on-year for the first quarter, slightly below the 4.7 percent gain in the quarter to December.