The Nikkei Index dropped 2.46% lower to trade near two-month lows on Friday, slipping below its 200-day moving average at the 14 958 points level, on worries that escalating geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West could hurt the global growth.
The Hang Seng Index closed higher after paring its earlier losses on Friday with shares on mainland China eking out slim gains in volatile trade, after the release of better-than-expected Chinese export growth data that showed 14.5% increase from a year earlier, which in the process offset concerns about the cooling housing market.
According to Reuters, European markets are expected to open lower on Friday, extending their week-long decline as tensions between the West and Russia continued to spook investors.
Reuters reports that US markets closed lower to extend its recent weakness on Thursday as Russia's response to banning imports of many Western foods in response to Western sanctions raised concerns about global growth, while the escalating conflict between Russian and Ukraine also had investors concerned.
Business Day reports that the JSE All Share Index closed in negative territory for the second straight day on Thursday, with ABIL’s share price giving up more than 81% on the day, while Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator MTN Group reported a 9% rise in first-half profit on the back of strong demand for its high-margin data services offset slow voice growth in South Africa.
The Rand is trading lower at R10.7905 against the US Dollar, with the Euro quoted at R14.4249 and the British Pound at R18.1179.
The gold price has climbed to a three-week high in Singapore trade on Friday after U.S. President Barack Obama authorised air strikes in Iraq, while growing fears that conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East could sap global growth, spurring safe-haven demand in the precious metal. Gold was last trading at $1,318.66, with the platinum price quoted at $1,481.20, while the palladium price has climbed to $858.20.
Brent was last trading higher at $106.39 a barrel.