Mainland indices mixed
After charging up to a more than four-year high of 3,404 points on hopes of further monetary easing, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index quickly reversed gains to close down modestly on Friday.
Property majors flitted between gains and losses all day; China Merchants Property and Gemdale closed down nearly 3 percent each while Poly Real Estate traded 1.5 percent lower.
Banking stocks helped to cap losses on the bourse; Beijing Bank jumped 5.2 percent while Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China rallied 3.5 and 1.2 percent each. Insurance plays also had a positive session, with China Life Insurance leading gains with a 6.1 percent rise.
Earlier, data showed the mainland's consumer price index (CPI) hovered near a five-year of 1.5 percent in December. While the inflation figure is in line with expectations, it offered signs of persisting weakness in the economy. Meanwhile, the producer price index (PPI) fell 3.3 percent on-year in December, worse than the 2.7 percent decrease in the preceding month, chalking up its 34th consecutive decline. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 3.1 percent decline in producer prices.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index retreated from a near five-week high to close up 0.4 percent.
Top on trader's watch list is Standard Chartered, which fell 1.5 percent following the lender's decision to dismantle its stock broking, equity research, and equity listing desks worldwide, which will result in more than 200 job cuts. Shares of the bank was unaffected on Thursday, closing up 2.7 percent.
Chinese sportswear giant Li Ning erased early gains to tank more than 2 percent after issuing a profit warning. Chow Tai Fook also receded nearly 8 percent; the jeweller's fiscal third quarter revenue fell 10 percent after pro-democracy protests last year hurt store traffic.
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Nikkei rises 0.2%
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index trimmed gains in the afternoon session as the yen strengthened modestly, but managed to clinch a third straight winning session on Friday.
Fast Retailing, owner of clothes brand Uniqlo, jumped 0.8 percent, buoyed by a 40 percent on-year jump in first quarter operating profit, helped by overseas sales.
Sony is in focus after announcing a delay in the launch of its Playstation 4 game consoles in China, initially slated for this Sunday. Shares of the consumer electronics giant leapt 1.3 percent.
Honda moved up 1.2 percent despite being fined $70 million by the U.S. government for not reporting consumer claims involving its cars. The fine will be the largest amount ever paid by an automaker, as a result of an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Daiichi Sankyo underperformed with a decline of more than 5 percent, despite receiving an approval for an anti-clotting drug by the U.S. food and drug administration.