Singapore Stock Exchange
The Straits Times Index registered the strongest gain at 0.16% Reuters

Major Asian indices saw a downward trend as investors appeared to mop up profits generated earlier this week.

The markets are also anxiously awaiting the US GDP figures for the first quarter of 2017, due to be released on Friday, 28 April by the Department of Commerce.

US President Donald Trump displayed a fiercely protectionist rhetoric on Thursday, which may have left investors especially wary. Trump threatened to dismantle the US-South Korea free trade agreement, known as Korus, calling it a "horrible deal" and a "Hillary Clinton disaster". He intends to secure a fairer deal with Seoul.

Moreover, Trump in an interview to Reuters expressed his eagerness to scrap the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

However, the general pessimism was offset by announcements from the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, where both institutions affirmed their commitment to a loose monetary policy.

Moreover, the strong likelihood of Emmanuel Macron becoming the next French president could also be a stabilizing factor to the market downturn.

The following index quotes were logged on 8:00am BST.

Japan: Nikkei- Down by 0.29% to 19,196.74

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism revealed on Friday that Japan's housing prices marginally rose by 0.2% year-on-year in March. Economists forecasted a 2.6% decline for the month, imitating a 2.6% decline for February.

Troubled electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp (+1.76%) emerged as one of the strongest performers.

Financial firms Nomura Holdings Inc (-3.09%) and Concordia Financial Group Ltd (-2.62%) reported particularly sharp downturns within the index.

Hong Kong: Hang Seng- Down by 0.31% to 24,623.94

Li Ka-shing owned Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd (+1.17%) and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (+0.59%) registered strong gains within the index.

Airline firm Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0.88%) emerged as one of the index's weakest performers.

China: Shanghai Composite- Down by 0.03% to 3,151.164

Australia: S&P/ASX- Up by 0.04% to 5,924.064

Singapore: Straits Times Index- Up by 0.16% to 3,176.44

The Ministry of Manpower reported on Friday that Singapore's jobless rate unexpectedly increased by a marginal 0.1% to 2.3% during the first quarter of 2017.

India: Sensex- Down by 0.57% to 29,859.45