HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan edged lower on Friday, but rose for the week as risk appetite improved amid fading fears of a global trade war, and as concerns of U.S. military action in Syria receded.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index fell 0.2% to 1,433.82 on Friday, but climbed 1.3% for the week.
Risk sentiment received a boost this week after Chinese President Xi Jinping adopted a conciliatory stance on trade at a speech at the annual Boao Forum for Asia on Tuesday. His remarks about opening up the nation's economy and trimming import taxes soothed investors worried about escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Worries about a possible U.S. military attack in Syria eased after President Donald Trump said on Twitter Thursday that such a move could take place "very soon or not so soon at all." The comment came a few hours after Trump threatened Russia with a possible strike on Syria following a suspected chemical weapon attack in a rebel-held town.
"Global equity markets could remain supported in the near term by an expected strong earnings season and Trump's change of tone," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM. "However, geopolitical tensions and heightened political uncertainty around the U.S. and Russia standoff could sour risk appetite consequently punishing stock markets."
Energy producers in the region soared this week as global oil prices jumped to their highest levels since 2014 amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. CNOOC and PetroChina added 10% and 6.1% in Hong Kong this week. CNOOC fell 1.3% on Friday, while PetroChina edged 0.2% higher.
Sapura Energy rose 8% on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, taking gains for the week to 48%. Gains were supported by an announcement that the oil-and-gas company, along with its partners, had taken a final investment decision to develop a potentially-lucrative gas asset.
Galaxy Entertainment Group rose 0.6% for the week in Hong Kong even as the Philippines shelved the Macau-based casino operator's plans to build a $500 million resort on the island of Boracay that is being closed for a clean-up. The stock edged 0.1% higher Friday after dropping 2.9% a day earlier.
The country gauge for Singapore added 0.8% on Friday, led by lenders. Singapore's central bank tightened its policy Friday as widely expected. The Monetary Authority of Singapore increased the slope of its policy band for the Singapore dollar toward "modest and gradual" appreciation, a shift from the zero- appreciation path that has held for two years. The central bank kept the width of the policy band and its center unchanged.
The decision came just as the city-state released preliminary economic growth figures for the first quarter showing GDP rose 4.3% on year. That was after a 3.6% increase for both the fourth quarter and the full year.
On Friday, the index for China fell 0.6%, while gauges for Hong Kong and Taiwan fell 0.1% each. South Korea's gauge climbed 0.4%, while the Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies ended 0.4% lower.
--V. Phani Kumar