Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed one day after Wall Street hit new record highs

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday.
  • Japanese retail sales data for November released on Friday came in worse than expected.
  • Overnight on Wall Street, stocks surged to fresh records and the three major averages all hit new all-time highs.

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday, one day after shares on Wall Street jumped to new record highs overnight.

Mainland Chinese stocks shed earlier gains to end lower on the day. The Shanghai composite fell fractionally lower to about 3,005.04, while the Shenzhen component declined 0.68% to 10,233.77. The Shenzhen composite declined 0.675% to around 1,697.91.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.18%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech heavyweight Tencent surging around 1.9%.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.29% to close at 2,204.21 as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics surged 1.99%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.36% lower at 23,837.72 as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 2.01%. The Topix index added 0.11% to finish its trading day at 1,733.18.

Japanese retail sales data for November released on Friday came in worse than expected. Retail sales declined 2.1% in November as compared with a year earlier, government data showed. That was below a median market forecast for a 1.7% decline, according to Reuters. The data follows a sales tax hike that went into effect in October.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose after the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays — the S&P/ASX 200 closing 0.4% higher at 6,821.70.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan was 0.69% higher.

Overnight stateside, stocks on Wall Street surged to new records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 105.94 points to close at 28,621.39 while the S&P 500 added 0.51% to 3,239.91. The Nasdaq Composite ended its trading day 0.78% higher at 9,022.39, topping the 9,000 mark for the first time ever. The three major averages all hit new all-time highs.

Recent market sentiment has been boosted since the U.S. and China announced they have reached a phase one trade agreement earlier in December. The two economic powerhouses are in the midst of translating the deal, with the aim of signing it in early January.

In a regular press briefing on Thursday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said China is in close touch with the U.S. on signing the initial trade pact. That came after U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the deal is "getting done," adding there will be a signing ceremony with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

"China has been lukewarm about the trade agreement, expressing less enthusiasm than the US but (Thursday's) comments is the strongest confirmation to date that there will be no reneging on the deal," Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, wrote in a note dated Thursday.

Adamas Asset Management's Brock Silvers, on the other hand, urged caution over the lack of details so far regarding the deal.

"It's a bit strange that we have an agreement that everyone is trying to celebrate but no one wants to really tell me what's in it," Silvers, who is managing director at the firm, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "I think the market can put up with that for a bit, we can be patient … but after next week … I think there will be some questions."

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.424 after seeing earlier highs above 97.6 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.50 against the dollar after an earlier high of 109.42. The Australian dollar was at $0.6948 after rising from levels below $0.693 yesterday.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.13% to $68.01 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.21% to $61.81 per barrel.

— CNBC's Yun Li contributed to this report.