Asian equities were mixed on Friday as fears over Yemen and weak data from the world’s third largest economy weighed on sentiment.
Yemen’s President left the city of Aden for Saudi Arabia on Thursday after Riyadh and its allies began air strikes targeting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The military operation saw oil prices surge 5 percent overnight, but those gains were reversed on Friday with U.S. crude and Brent both 1 percent lower. While Yemen isn’t a major oil producer, fears are high that the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, a key shipping route for oil tankers located between Yemen and Djibouti, may be closed.
Those concerns saw U.S. stocks fall for a fourth straight session on Thursday and offset data showing that jobless claims fell to a five-week low, pointing to a healthy and expanding labor market. Attention now turns to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday.
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