In economic news, U.S. private payrolls data from ADP on Thursday indicated that 158,000 jobs were created in June, compared with the 185,000 expected. The ISM non-manufacturing index, however, indicated that non-manufacturing activity grew, coming in at 57.4 in June, compared with the 56.5 forecast.
Data out of the U.S. on Thursday encapsulated the current economic conundrum, said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.
"Around the globe, an ongoing increase in activity is only weakly lifting employment, and both wages and prices are showing little signs of life. A low inflation environment endangers the withdrawal timetable and increases market risks," McCarthy warned in a Friday note.
Ahead, nonfarm payrolls data due Friday in the U.S. were likely to also be closely watched by markets.
In currencies, the euro was mostly flat after strengthening overnight on the back of the release of the ECB's minutes. The common currency traded at $1.1419 to the dollar at 3:58 p.m. HK/SIN, compared with levels around the $1.13 handle seen earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of rival currencies, firmed to trade at 95.880 at 3:58 p.m. HK/SIN — but remained lower than the 96 handle seen for most of the week.
Data for China's June foreign exchange reserves released after the market close showed reserves rose for a fifth straight month, but remained lower than forecasts, Reuters reported. Reserves rose by $3 billion to come in at $3.057 trillion in June, compared to the $3.06 trillion forecast.
Stateside, stocks closed lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 0.74 percent, or 158.13 points, to close at 21,320.04.