The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.30% ended down 0.3%, erasing the 0.6% gains made earlier in the day, though the extent of damage caused by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake wasn’t immediately clear.
Even so, the Nikkei ended the week up nearly 2%, thanks to robust corporate earnings results and a weaker yen.
Elsewhere in the region, Korea Kospi SEU, -0.37% fell 0.4% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -0.41% was also off 0.4%.
Among the day’s bigger winners in Japan, industrial machine maker Yaskawa Electric 6506, +2.13% rose 2.1%, after it kept its profit expectations for the full year unchanged despite weaker earnings for the first half that ended in September.
“Concerns about earnings deterioration are easing,” said Yoshinori Ogawa, a strategist at Okasan Securities.
Meanwhile, shares in videogame maker Nintendo 7974, -6.55% closed down 6.6%, after the company introduced its next videogame platform: a console-handheld hybrid called “Switch,” which will compete with Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox. Investors were disappointed that the company didn’t instead pursue developing games on rival platforms or for mobile phones.
Japanese stocks were higher earlier in the session amid the yen’s further weakness, thanks largely to the strength of the U.S. dollar. The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, +0.36% , which tracks the currency against 16 other currencies, was up 0.2% at 88.50 in late Asian trade.
On Friday, the U.S. dollar USDCNY, +0.3396% hit a record high against the freely traded yuan in the offshore market, and was last up 0.3%. The dollar was 0.2% stronger by against the onshore yuan, after earlier touching a fresh six-year high.
Most of the dollar’s strength came from the euro’s weakness and higher expectations of an interest-rate increase by December.
“It is the pace of change in the dollar market that is a cause of concern,” said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG. A stronger dollar hurts returns that U.S. investors earn on overseas investments. The greenback is expected to keep gaining strength until December, say analysts. “A Fed hike in December is more of a mainstream view now,” said Mr. Weston.
In China, the yuan’s weakness stoked fears of a renewed cash exodus, as was the case after Beijing depreciated the currency in August last year. At the same time, China’s housing market continues to sizzle, with home prices rising in 63 of 70 cities in September from the previous month. Average new home prices rose 1.8% in September, versus a 1.3% gain in August.
As a result, Chinese stocks were under pressure, with traders balancing yuan declines with the strong China housing price data.
“Investors are on the fence as to whether to divert funds from properties to equities,” said Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.21% , however, recovered in late trade to end up 0.2% while the Shenzhen Composite Index 399106, -0.38% ended down 0.4%. Hong Kong’s HSI, +0.30% stock market was closed Friday as the city was shut down due to a typhoon.
The stronger dollar also weighed on oil CLZ6, +0.08% , adding pressure after statements from Russia about increasing production. Rosneft, the world’s biggest oil producer, noted that it could raise production significantly, according to analysts.
“They suggested that if demand was there, they could raise output by as much as 4 million barrels a day,” said ANZ in a note to clients. This was at odds with Russia’s previous stance of a joint production cut with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Among major energy stocks, shares in Australia’s Oil Search OSH, -2.33% declined 2.3%, while Woodside Petroleum WPL, -0.91% fell 0.9%, dragging Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.22% down 0.2%.