Chinese shares up after weak trade data

HK stock exchange Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in China led the region's gains as investors' hopes for more stimulus from the government were reignited by disappointing trade data.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 1.1% at 27,577.34, while the Shanghai Composite rose 2.3% to 4,205.92.

Despite Friday's rise, the mainland index lost 5.3% for the week - its worst performance in five years.

Trade data from China showed exports fell in April from a year ago by 6.2% in yuan terms.

Forecasts were for a rise of about 1.5%.

Imports also fell by 16.1% in yuan terms compared with forecasts for a drop of about 12%.

Analysts said the trade numbers could mean further easing by China's central bank this year, including further rate cuts this month, among other measures.

Nintendo boost

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 0.45% at 19,379.19.

Investors sent shares in video game maker Nintendo up 7% after it reported its first annual operating profit in four years.

Nintendo also said it was optimistic about prospects, expecting its annual operating profit to double in the next year.

After Japan's markets had closed for the day, manufacturing giant Toyota reported a 19% rise in net profit for the year to March.

The Bank of Japan released minutes of its April meeting on Friday revealing that some of the central bank's board members were concerned about the weakness of private consumption, which accounts for about 60% of Japan's economic activity.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.2% at 5,634.60.

One of the country's big investment banks, Macquarie Group, saw its shares rise more than 5% after it reported full-year results that beat forecasts.

Macquarie announced a 27% year-on-year rise in net profits to 1.6bn Australian dollars ($1.26bn; £819m) for the year ending in March, beating estimates for a profit of some A$1.5bn.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index closed flat, up just 0.03% at 2,091.57.

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