Asian shares mostly lower, eyes on Ukraine crisis

Asian shares mostly lower, eyes on Ukraine crisis

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mostly lower on Friday, with another upbeat lead from Wall Street overshadowed by concerns about the Ukraine crisis.

The euro maintained its momentum after a pick-up on Thursday fuelled by a healthy consumer confidence reading from Germany.

Tokyo rose 0.17 per cent, or 24.27 points, to 14,429.26 while Seoul tumbled 1.34 per cent, or 26.68 points, to 1,971.66.

Hong Kong sank 1.50 per cent, or 339.27 points, to 22,223.53 and Shanghai fell 1.00 per cent, or 20.51 points, to 2,036.52.

Sydney and Wellington were closed for public holidays.

US shares ended mostly higher on Thursday following another round of impressive corporate results as well as a second strong month of durable goods orders in March.

The figures indicated the economy is rebounding from its winter slump.

The Nasdaq climbed 0.52 per cent, boosted by a rally in Apple which rose more than eight per cent on better-than-expected earnings. The S&P 500 added 0.17 per cent and the Dow was unchanged.

However, traders remain on edge over the situation in Eastern Europe. Russia on Thursday ordered new military exercises on the border of Ukraine and warned of "consequences" after Kiev launched a deadly assault against pro-Kremlin rebels occupying a flashpoint town.

Later US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of a "full-throated effort to actively sabotage the democratic process through gross external intimidation" and described the military exercises as "threatening".

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