Asian shares were mixed on Friday, with regional data offering mixed support and the markets on edge for a possible missile test by North Korea on its founding anniversary day of September 9.
In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.24%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.61%.
China's trade balance data came in at a surplus of $41.99 billion, narrower than the $48.6 billion expected for August. Imports jumped 13.3%, better than the 10% gain seen, while exports rose 5.5%, compared to a gain of 6.0% expected. Earlier, China reported yuan-denominated exports gained 14.4% year on year and rose 6.9% month on month in August for a trade balance surplus of CNY 286 billion.
In Japan, the unadjusted current account for July came in at a surplus of ¥2.320 trillion, wider than the ¥2.059 trillion seen, but GDP figures showed an unexpected downward revision for Q2 to 0.6% quarter on quarter from 1.0% in a preliminary reading, and a 2.5% increase year on year, compared to 4.0% earlier.
The Nikkei 225 fell 0.52% while the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.35%.
Australia reported home loans data for July jumped 2.9%, compared with a 1.0% gain seen.
Overnight, U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday, weighed by a slump in financials, as Treasury yields fell amid a dip in investor expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates later this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher at 21,784.78. The S&P 500 closed 0.02% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6397.87, up 0.07%.
A more than 1% slump in shares of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) weighed on the broader market, as investor expectations of a December rate hike continued to fall following data showing weakness in the labor market. Higher interest rates are seen as boon for banks, boosting net interest margin - the difference between the interest income generated by banks and the amount of interest paid out to their lenders.
Initial jobless claims in the period running from August 27 to September 2 surged by 62,000 to 298,000, reaching the highest level since spring 2015, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The fall in expectations of an additional rate hike later this year comes against comments from Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, who said that the gradual increases in the Fed funds rate will be needed to sustain the expansion and mitigate risks.
In corporate news, shares of Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) closed 4% lower after the company issued a profit warning and said earnings per share this year will roughly be in line with that of a year ago.