Asian stocks struggle for traction – Financial Times

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Stocks in Asia were struggling for traction on Friday and trying to shake off the lead from the US where equities surrendered early gains and finished fractionally lower.

Japan’s Topix benchmark was 0.1 per cent lower. Takata jumped 45.5 per cent on reports Japanese automakers including Toyota, Honda and Nissan would support the troubled airbag maker through its recovery if and when it files for bankruptcy. Shares fell by more than half on Thursday in the wake of reports the company could file for bankruptcy before the end of June.

The S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.1 per cent. Australian bank stocks were dealt a blow following South Australia’s decision yesterday to impose a state-level tax on lenders, which would add to the federal government’s plan to impose a national levy on balance sheet liabilities. The “Big Four” lenders were down between 0.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent today.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.2 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.1 per cent and the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite gained 0.1 per cent, while the CSI 300, which tracks the 300 biggest stocks on both exchanges, was marginally lower from an 18-month high.