Asia markets mostly lower; yen strengthens against the dollar

Asia markets were mostly lower on the final trading day of the week, as investors digested major central banks’ decisions to stand pat on their monetary policies.

Stateside, the U.S. Federal Reserve opted not to raise interest rates on Wednesday local time, citing a slowdown in economic activity in the country. Then on Thursday, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) unexpectedly kept its policy steady, disappointing a substantial section of the market that was betting on further stimulus.

Australia’s ASX 200 reversed early losses to close up 26.77 points, or 0.51 percent, at 5,252.20, adding 0.3 percent for the week. The index was supported on Friday by gains in the heavily-weighted financials sub-index, as well as the energy and materials sub-indexes.

In South Korea, the Kospi finished down 6.78 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,994.15, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.37 percent as of 2:50 p.m. HK/SIN. Chinese mainland markets were mixed, with the Shanghai composite dropping 7.13 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,938.45, while the Shenzhen composite finished nearly flat.

Japanese markets are closed on Friday for a public holiday. The Japanese benchmark index tumbled 3.61 percent in the previous session, while the yen strengthened rapidly, following the BOJ decision. The Nikkei 225 lost more than 5 percent for the week.

As of 3:11 p.m. HK/SIN, the yen traded at 107.14 against the dollar, compared with levels over 108 earlier in the session. That followed the pair’s fall of as much as nearly 3 percent Thursday afternoon local time from levels over 111. The pair traded at lows not seen since October 2014.

Source: CNBC