Business

Asian shares in muted Friday trade

Tokyo stock market Image copyright Getty Images

Shares across Asia traded mixed on Friday, failing to pick up the positive lead from Wall Street.

US markets had finished higher on expectations that job figures for February, due out later on Friday, will show a strong pace of growth.

Asia's biggest market, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.3% higher at 17,014.78.

Shares in the embattled electronics firm Sharp rose 9.4% on new reports it was close to a deal with Taiwan's Foxconn.

The jump came after the Nikkei business daily reported that Sharp and Foxconn parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry were continuing talks, with both sides seeking to conclude a takeover deal by Monday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sharp may end up with Foxconn after all

Earlier talks had been delayed when Foxconn said it had received new information from Sharp which needed to be clarified.

BHP downgrade

In Australia, the ASX 200 index finished the day up 0.2% at 5,090.02.

Shares of commodity giant BHP Billiton rose 2.4%, with investors unfazed by a downgrade by credit ratings agency Moody's.

Moody's cut its ratings of the Anglo-Australian firm to "A3" from "A1", citing the deterioration in the company's earnings and cash flow as reasons.

The ratings agency also said it expected low commodity prices and softer demand to continue to affect BHP.

Samsonite bags Tumi

In China, the mainland benchmark Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.5% at 2,874.15. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 1.2% at 20,176.70.

Samsonite shares rose 1.3% as the company confirmed that it was taking over US luxury rival Tumi.

In South Korea, the Kospi index finished down 0.1% at 1,955.63.

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