SINGAPORE — South Korean stocks led losses among the Asia-Pacific markets in Friday morning trade, with shares of firms related to conglomerate Samsung falling after the firm’s heir was released from prison.
In Friday morning trade, shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics plunged 3.25% while Samsung C&T dropped 1.48%. Samsung Life Insurance fell nearly 1% and Samsung SDS declined 1.4%.
Those losses came after Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee was released from prison on Friday. South Korea’s justice ministry announced earlier this week that he had qualified for parole.
The broader Kospi in South Korea was down by 1.61%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.17% while the Topix index traded 0.1% higher.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.49% higher as investors watched the coronavirus situation, with the country’s capital Canberra entering a week-long lockdown from Thursday after a Covid-19 case was identified.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.43% lower.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 14.88 points to 35,499.85 while the S&P 500 gained about 0.3% to 4,460.83. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.35% to 14,816.26.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.995 — above levels below 92.9 seen earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 110.39 per dollar, weaker than levels below 110.20 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7334, off levels above $0.736 seen earlier in the trading week.