Asian shares ended mixed on Friday amid political uncertainty in the U.S. and ahead of the U.S. monthly jobs report slated for release later in the day.
The dollar remained under selling pressure after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections is intensifying.
It was said that Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate allegations of Russia’s interference in the elections.
U.S. crude futures remained below $50 a barrel on concerns over high OPEC supplies while the yen hit a seven-week high.
China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 10.85 points or 0.33 percent to 3,262.08 even as a rally in cyclicals remained intact. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 45 points or 0.17 percent at 27,576 in late trade.
Japanese shares fell as the yen’s strength in the wake of renewed concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to push through tax changes and a surprisingly soft reading on the U.S. services sector overshadowed investor optimism on corporate earnings.
The Nikkei average slid 76.93 points or 0.38 percent to 19,952.33 while the broader Topix index closed 0.15 percent lower at 1,631.45. Energy majors Inpex and Japan Petroleum Exploration fell around 1 percent each.
Kirin Holdings, Japan’s largest beverage company, lost as much as 4.5 percent. Suzuki Motor climbed 8.7 percent after its first-quarter operating profit jumped 43.8 percent. Rival Mazda Motor rose 2.8 percent ahead of an expected announcement of a joint venture with Toyota Motor.
Weakness in the banking sector pulled Australian shares lower after Commonwealth Bank was accused of money laundering and terrorism-financing breaches. Positive retail sales figures and gains in miners helped to limit losses to some extent
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 14.50 points or 0.25 percent to 5,720.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 13.50 points or 0.23 percent to finish at 5,773.30.
Commonwealth Bank shares slumped 3.9 percent while ANZ and Westpac fell 0.3 percent and half a percent, respectively. Mining giant Rio Tinto advanced 1.6 percent to snap a two-day losing streak after iron ore prices rebounded on Thursday.
Casino giant Crown Resorts tumbled 2.9 percent after its underlying annual profit missed analyst forecasts. Tabcorp Holdings rose 1.4 percent despite the gaming giant posting a full-year net loss after one-off costs. Online travel agency Webjet soared…