Asian markets were set to open lower on Friday as trade tensions returned to the spotlight after the U.S. announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on several of its allies would be reapplied.
Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were lower by 0.39 percent compared to the index's Thursday close. Australian SPI futures also came under slight pressure, declining 0.12 percent at the end of the last session.
Markets in Indonesia will be closed on Friday for a holiday.
Trade concerns returned to the fore after the Trump administration said tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union would take effect Thursday midnight U.S. time. The countries had previously been exempted from those tariffs, originally announced in March.
U.S. stocks closed lower amid concerns the moves could lead to a trade war: The Dow Jones industrial average declined 1.02 percent, or 251.94 points, to close at 24,415.84, the S&P 500 lost 0.69 percent to end at 2,705.27 and the Nasdaq composite shed 0.27 percent to finish at 7,442.12.
Still, major U.S. stock indexes finished the month with gains, with the Dow up 1.05 percent for the month. The Nasdaq rose 5.32 percent in May.
Elsewhere, political turmoil in Italy that had spooked global markets this week took a back seat after anti-establishment parties in the country came to a consensus on forming a coalition government.
What's on tap
Here's the economic calendar for Friday (all times in HK/SIN):
- 8:00 a.m.: South Korea trade data
- 9:00 a.m.: Australia new home sales
- 9:45 a.m.: China Caixin manufacturing PMI
Ahead, investors awaited the release of May nonfarm payrolls during U.S. hours as markets consider how many times the Federal Reserve will raise rates this year.