Asia Stocks End the Week Lower

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- After opening higher, Asian stock markets were lower Friday with China's Shanghai index sinking more than 3 percent as concerns about the effect of China's stimulus measures surfaced, renewing fears about slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. The price of oil fell.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 erased earlier gains, losing 1 percent to 17,065.27. South Korea's Kospi also slid 1.3 percent to 1,875.74 while Hong Kogn's Hang Seng dropped 1.3 percent to 19,572.56. China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped 3.1 percent to 2,916.04. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 also gave up earlier gains and fell 0.3 percent to 4,892.80. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mixed.

CHINA CONCERNS: China's official Xinhua news agency reported that banks' new yuan loans during the last month fell over a year earlier even though for the year of 2015, new yuan lending increased from the previous year. China's latest monetary and credit data showed that small and medium-sized enterprises in China face problems getting loans from Chinese banks, despite Beijing's efforts to boost the country's private sector, analysts said.

THE QUOTE: "The fact that China's fiscal and monetary stimulus is not reaching China's most important part of the economy should be a major concern," said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne, Australia. "China's ongoing consumption and tertiary sector growth requires the small and medium enterprises and private sectors to continue to thrive."

US DATA WATCH: Investors may get more insight into how the U.S. economy and corporate America are doing on Friday. Reports on consumer sentiment, retail sales and manufacturing are due. Several big banks, including Citigroup and Wells Fargo, are scheduled to release quarterly earnings.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks finished higher with the biggest gain in over a month thanks to a rally in energy stocks. The Dow rose 227.64 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,379.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 31.56 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,921.84. The Nasdaq composite added 88.94 points, or 2 percent, to 4,615.

OIL: The price of crude oil fell again after a rebound in the previous session although it still traded above $30 a barrel. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 59 cents to $30.61 per barrel in New York. The contract rose 72 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $31.20 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 32 cents to $30.56 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.0879 from $1.0859, while the dollar fell to 117.83 yen from 118.20 yen.

(KA)