Asian shares pulled back from this week's three-year highs on Friday after a mostly flat day on Wall Street, though a fresh S&P closing record and upbeat U.S. employment data underpinned sentiment. "The German Ifo current assessment index and expectations index are both expected to decline, which could weaken euro/dollar," said Marshall Gittler, global head of FX strategy at IronFX Global. "The Ifo index is in contrast to Thursday's positive PMI figures, perhaps because the Ifo incorporates more recent data on the impact that sanctions on Russia are likely to have on the German economy," Gittler said in a note to clients. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.3 percent, though still on track for solid weekly gain of more than 1 percent.
Shanghai Husi Food, the U.S.-owned Chinese food supplier at the center of a meat safety scandal, won a court case earlier this year against a former quality control officer whose claims included that he was made to forge meat production dates. Wang Donglai, who worked at Shanghai Husi Food from 2007 to 2013, sought around 38,000 yuan ($6,100) in compensation for damage to his health from exposure to chlorine used as a cleaning agent by the meat processor. He also sought to terminate his contract at Shanghai Husi, claiming he was forced to work overtime and made to do "unethical work" that violated food safety laws, court documents showed. At his hearing last October, Wang said he was unwilling to illegally forge dates at the plant, adding that he repeatedly urged his employer to change a practice which he said violated food safety laws and hurt consumer interests, according to court documents seen by Reuters.
Companies ranging from Ford Motor Co to 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc reported second quarter earnings that highlighted weakness in their Latin or South American operations. Several companies reported tepid performance in Brazil, the biggest economy in Latin America, where some economists fear the country is on the verge of a recession. "The place where we see a little bit more of a challenge is Latin America," 3M Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin told analysts on the company's quarterly conference call on Thursday.