HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan ended little changed on Friday, as investors paused even though optimism over a preliminary Sino-American trade deal lingered.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.1% to close at 1,382.47.
U.S. equities ended at fresh record highs on Thursday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC that the first phase of the U.S.-China trade deal is likely to be signed early in January. The rally came despite a vote by the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. The proceedings are now expected to go to trial in the Senate. Trump on Twitter said he wanted "an immediate trial" in the Senate, where his Republican party has a majority.
The Trump impeachment "had zero impact on financial markets," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA, adding that markets were focusing on Mnuchin's statement on a trade deal being signed in January.
Meanwhile, China on Friday left its one-year Loan Prime Rate unchanged at 4.15%, as widely expected. However, some market participants have been expecting authorities in Asia's largest economy to ease policy to support growth.
"China has disappointed markets in Asia," Halley said. The country is "probably more concerned about year-end liquidity and avoiding currency depreciation at the moment."
Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing ended unchanged. Chief Executive Charles Li sold 650,000 of the company's shares on Wednesday at an average price of HK$256.53 each, according to an exchange filing on Thursday.
-- Suzannah Benjamin