Asian stocks closed mixed but were tending lower on Friday with investors ignoring a record finish on Wall Street and booking profits ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
Seoul made a slight 0.36 percent gain on continued optimism following an easing in nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula, while Jakarta, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur inched higher amid broader profit taking.
All other markets ended lower with Tokyo, down 0.12 percent, typifying the mood. Singapore fell 0.48 percent and Sydney shed 0.65 percent with both benchmarks falling off record highs.
Bangkok was down 0.84 percent while Manila was the worst on the day after slumping 1.36 percent, with investors consolidating on recent sharp gains.
Taipei and Mumbai were closed for public holidays.
Share prices closed slightly lower, easing off near seven-year highs as investors locked in profits ahead of next week's interest rate decision by the central bank.
Dealers said a stronger yen also weighed on exporters after the Japanese currency hit five-week highs against the dollar in overseas trade on Thursday.
The NIKKEI-225 index shed 21.58 points to 17,875.65. Volume was 2.15 billion shares, down from 2.39 billion on Thursday.
Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Shinko Securities, said market participants were cautious in view of the US public holiday tomorrow and the Bank of Japan's decision this week on interest rates.
The food and beverage sector was in focus after US hedge fund Steel Partners said it was considering a tender offer to take control of Sapporo Holdings, the holding company for Japan's No. 3 brewer.
Rival Asahi Breweries, meanwhile, denied a report that it had informally made a takeover offer to Sapporo late last year.
Sapporo Holdings jumped ?00 or 12.6 percent to ?91, and Asahi Breweries advanced ?1 or 1.6 percent to ?,982. Kirin Brewery rose ?7 or 4.2 percent to ?,911.
Share prices closed 0.14 percent higher on rotational buying of second and third-tier stocks, although trading overall was quiet ahead of a long weekend.
The Hang Seng index closed up 29.49 points at 20,567.91. Turnover on Friday was HK$37 billion (US$4.7 billion).
"The market lacked clear direction ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays," said Ben Kwong, research head at KGI Asia.
Hang Seng Bank was up HK$1.60 at HK$112.9.
Share prices extended their rise for a fourth straight day thanks to Wall Street's sustained rally and easing geopolitical concerns.
Dealers said Samsung Electronics surged nearly 3 percent on the company's share buyback program.
The KOSPI index closed up 5.18 points at 1,448.81. Volume was 202 million shares worth 3.5 trillion won (US$3.7 billion).
Samsung Electronics jumped 16,000 won to 590,000 won.
Share prices closed at fresh record highs, adding 0.18 percent on a fourth winning day as concerns over the prospect of higher interest rates continued to ease.
Dealers said that even with the markets closed next week for the long Lunar New Year holiday, heavy volumes picked up and investors were anxious not to miss out on the latest advance.
Reports that the authorities would approve the launch of new mutual funds were taken to mean that recent official warnings about possible overheating in the market would not be repeated.
The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 5.47 points to a record 2,998.47 on turnover of 94.06 billion yuan (US$12.14 billion).
Share prices fell 0.65 percent as investors locked in profits to break a three-session, record-breaking run.
The SP/ASX 200 ended down 39.1 points at 5,953.7. A total of 1.64 billion shares worth A$5.66 billion (US$4.4 billion) were traded.
ABN Amro Morgans Brisbane director of equities Bill Chatterton said profit-taking was the major factor behind the market's weak close after the index briefly touched 6,000 points for the first time during Thursday's session.
"Generally, reporting season results have been pretty good, but today a little bit of money came off the top," Chatterton said. "But we shouldn't read anything too negative into it."
Chatterton said falls in several major banks led the market down.
Share prices closed 0.48 percent lower as investors locked in gains ahead of the Lunar New Year break.
The Straits Times Index (STI) fell 15.56 points to 3,236.93 on volume of 1.65 billion shares valued at S$1.78 billion (US$1.16 billion).
Share prices closed 0.27 percent higher as investors bought on expectations the market would reopen higher next Wednesday for a post-Lunar New Year rally.
The composite index gained 3.46 points to 1,262.09 on volume of 2.82 billion shares worth 2.75 billion ringgit (US$785.71 million).
Share prices closed 0.84 percent lower as investors took profits ahead of Lunar New Year.
The composite index fell 5.85 points to 688.01 on turnover of 1.2 billion shares worth 8.5 billion baht (US$240 million).
Share prices closed 0.22 percent higher, with gains in Telkom and mining stocks helping offset losses from late profit-taking.
The composite closed down 3.958 points at 1,794.363. Volume was 2.08 billion shares valued at 3.26 trillion rupiah (US$360 million).
Share prices closed 1.36 percent lower, snapping a strong two-day advance, as investors locked in gains after the key index hit a 10-year high.
The composite index gave up 45.81 points to 3,333.56. Turnover was 5.8 billion shares worth 6.5 billion pesos (US$135 million).
Share prices closed 0.31 percent lower as the corporate results season appeared to point to tougher trading conditions ahead.
The NZX-50 index fell 12.78 points to 4,179.89 on turnover worth NZ$126.72 million (US$87.34 million).
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