Asia Mixed, Investors Weigh Yellen Remarks

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Friday, as investors weigh remarks from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said federal emergency actions to back up failed regional banks could be used again if necessary.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 34.36 points, or 0.1%, to 27,385.25.

The country saw its core inflation come in at 3.1% for February, marking the first time in 14 months that the pace of inflation has slowed.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 133,96 points, or 0.7%, to 19,915.68.

Hong Kong banks have slid about 3% on Friday, with HSBC among one of the largest losers on the Hang Seng Index.

HSBC was trading 2.8% lower compared to its last close, while counterpart Standard Chartered was down 3.1%.

Australia-listed shares of payment firm Block plunged nearly 20%, following the moves of U.S.-listed shares after Hindenburg Research announced that the payment company was its latest short position.

The short-seller said Block allowed criminal activity to operate with lax controls and “highly” inflates Cash App’s transacting user base, a key metric of performance.

In other markets

In China, the CSI 300 dropped 12.04 points, or 0.3%, to 4,027.05.

In Singapore, the Straits Times lost 6.36 points, or 0.2%, to 3,212.64.

In Taiwan, the Taiex gained 50.75 points, or 0.3%, to 15,914.70.

In Korea, the Kospi backpedaled 9.52 points, or 0.4%, to 2,414.96.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 declined 14.12 points, or 0.1%, to 11,580.82.

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 13.38 points, or 0.2%, to 6,955.24.