HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan fell Friday to end a three-day winning streak as investors assessed the latest updates on the virus epidemic and awaited a key U.S. jobs report.
The Nikkei Asia300 index of companies outside Japan declined 0.8% to 1,361.64 after having climbed 4.8% in the previous three sessions.
Chinese heath authorities on Friday reported 70 new deaths and more than 3,000 new cases from the coronavirus bringing the total number of deaths to 636 and infected cases to 31,161. Most of the deaths have been reported in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Meanwhile, Japan said earlier in the day that the number of cases on a quarantined cruise ship had climbed to 61.
U.S. equity index futures declined ahead of the U.S. monthly jobs report. Economists polled by Reuters estimate that U.S. employers added 160,000 jobs last month, up from 145,000 in December. Average earnings growth is pegged at 0.3% month-on-month and the unemployment rate at 3.5%.
ING Bank said that while sustained jobs growth and benign wage pressures indicate stable U.S. interest rates, risks remain skewed toward policy action in light of the worries over the coronavirus.
On the A300 gauge on Friday, Hong Kong-shares of property developer China Overseas Land & Investment fell 1.8% following an 18% drop in last month's contracted sales.
An index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong slipped 0.6%. Heavyweight Tencent Holdings rose 0.6%.
Sembcorp Industries tumbled 6% after the Singaporean conglomerate reportedly said that its fourth-quarter results will include impairment charges totaling S$245 million ($177 million)
NMDC fell 2.3% after the Indian iron ore miner reported a 13% fall in third-quarter net profit.
SK Telecom lost 0.2% after the South Korean company reported an 8% fall in last year's operating profit.
-- Nimesh Vora