Asia Markets

Japan, China shares lead gains in Asia after S&P 500's record close


Asian equity markets finished mostly higher on the final trading day of the week following another record close for the overnight.

News that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) trimmed its global growth forecasts again on Thursday put a lid on gains. The IMF cut its forecast down to 3.4 percent this year from April's forecast for 3.7 percent due to geopolitical risks over Ukraine and Iraq, as well as lowered expectations for key emerging markets.

Geopolitical risks were also in focus after authorities said that 15 people in Gaza were killed on Thursday after Israeli forces shelled a shelter at a U.N.-run school, bringing the civilian death toll above 800.

Nikkei 1.1% higher

Japanese shares finished at a six-month peak, rebounding from Thursday's modest losses after June consumer price inflation rose 3.3 percent on year, in line with estimates.

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In earnings news, camera maker Canon slipped 0.1 percent despite second-quarter net income rising 21.6 percent on year but Fanuc soared 5 percent after its net profit nearly doubled. Advantest slumped nearly 7 percent after its net income missed estimates.

Itochu jumped 2.5 percent after announcing late on Thursday that it will sell a 4.9 percent stake to Thai firm Charoen Pokphand.

Shanghai up 1%

Mainland shares ended at fresh three-month highs, rising for a sixth straight day as investors cheered the progress of a cross-border trading plan, which will allow greater foreign investment in Shanghai's A-share market.

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Among the most actively traded stocks, Baotou Steel rose nearly 2 percent while Agricultural Bank of China finished 2 percent higher.

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ASX slips 0.2%

Australia's benchmark retreated, snapping seven straight days of gains and slipping off Thursday's six-year peak.

Gold miners underperformed after bullion prices traded near a five-week low. Evolution Mining tanked 3 percent and Alacer Gold lost over 4 percent.

But drug delivery firm Acrux surged 31 percent on the back of solid quarterly sales figures.

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Kospi up 0.2%

South Korean shares finished at their highest levels since November 2013 as investors reacted to earnings posted after Thursday's market close.

Steel giant POSCO jumped 1.7 percent despite reporting a steep drop in profits due to the strong won. Meanwhile, Shinhan Financial also rose 1.7 percent after announcing a near 10 percent rise in interim profit.

Nifty down 0.5%

India's NSE index finished lower as investors focused on earnings. IT services firm Wipro sank as much as 8 percent after posting earnings that missed estimates.