Asian equity benchmarks are trading mostly lower in the early deals on Friday with markets cautious on rising US Treasury yields and ahead of US nonfarm payrolls data for clues on the path of Fed rate hikes in 2018. Japan's Nikkei share average fell led by weakness in most sectors, with banking stocks down on worries domestic yields would be kept low after the central bank conducted a special bond purchase operation. Meanwhile, Chinese stocks declined with small-cap firms struggling and trading suspended in a slew of companies, amid concerns about a pending wave of margin calls and as some announced share purchase schemes to bolster fading confidence. Among the other Asian markets, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are also lower. Bucking the trend, Malaysia, and Indonesia are modestly higher.
Nikkei 225 declined 245.73 points or 1.05% to 23,240.38, Hang Seng dropped 1.97 points or 0.01% to 32,640.12, Straits Times dipped 5.70 points or 0.16% to 3,541.53, KOSPI Index slipped 43.05 points or 1.68% to 2,525.49, Taiwan Weighted contracted 35.17 points or 0.32% to 11,125.08, and Shanghai Composite was down by 14.16 points or 0.41% to 3,432.82.
On the flip side, FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI gained 1 points or 0.05% to 1,869.58, and Jakarta Composite was up by 44.41 points or 0.67% to 6,642.87.