Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, with market participants in wait-and-see mode as high-level U.S.-China trade talks continue in Beijing on Friday.
Both sides had said they were hopeful the latest set of negotiations, which began at the start of the week, could bring them closer to a comprehensive agreement before a March 1 deadline.
On Thursday, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said there has been no decision to extend the deadline for a deal.
Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales figures slipped 1.2 percent in December, with receipts falling across the board. It marked their biggest drop since September 2009.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, was down 0.8 percent.
Elsewhere, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to call a snap general election on Friday. It comes after parliament rejected his minority government’s 2019 budget proposal.