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Asia markets mixed as geopolitical tensions linger

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday.
  • Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 jumped 1% to close at a record high of 2,954.18.
  • Tensions in the Middle East continued to heat up after an Iranian missile shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday. That comes following attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday as tensions in the Middle East continue to linger.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.95% lower at 21,258.64, while the Topix index slipped 0.9% to finish its trading day at 1,545.90.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi finished its trading day 0.27% lower at 2,125.62 as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix declined 2.08%. Australia's also slipped 0.55% to close at 6,650.80, with shares of biotechnology firm CSL dropping 3.17% after the company flagged lower Chinese sales in 2020 due to a change in its distribution model.

Mainland Chinese stocks bucked the overall trend to rise on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.5% and Shenzhen component adding 0.87%. The Shenzhen composite also advanced 1.339%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index declined around 0.5%, as of its final hour of trading. Hong Kong-listed shares of HSBC slipped about 1%.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Overnight on Wall Street, the jumped 1% to close at a record high of 2,954.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended its trading day 249.17 points higher at 26,753.17, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8% to close at 8,051.34.

The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady on Wednesday, but opened the door for a possible rate cut in the future. Following that, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.668 after it declined from levels above 97.6 earlier in the week.

The , often seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 107.29 against the dollar after seeing levels above 107.6 yesterday. The changed hands at $0.6922 after rising from levels around $0.688 in the previous session.

Middle East tensions heat up

Meanwhile, tensions in the Middle East continued to heat up after an Iranian missile shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday. That followed attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Oil prices were sent soaring on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said Iran made a "very big mistake." The New York Times reported late Thursday that Trump had approved military strikes on several Iranian targets before abruptly pulling back.

In the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Friday, oil prices pared some of the previous trading day's gains. Brent slipped fractionally to $64.41 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures declined 0.14% to $56.99 per barrel.

"The key issue that we're struggling with at the moment is the impact of geopolitics on business confidence," James Sullivan, head of Asia ex-Japan equity research at J.P. Morgan told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday.

"No one knows what's going on in the world at this point and it's very difficult to have a (capital expenditure) budget in that type of environment. That's the most significant drag on the global economy," he said. "In terms of the drivers of oil going forward, yes you have potential geopolitical conflict pushing the price up. But core demand continues to be very weak and that's really the driver of the story for us."

Shares of oil companies in the region saw gains on Friday. Australia's Beach Energy jumped 4.81% and Santos advanced 1.41%, while Japan's Inpex surged 4.44% and South Korea's S-Oil rose 0.61%.

— Reuters and CNBC's Yun Li and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.