Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index set to post a fourth straight weekly advance. Japanese shares retreated as the yen held gains amid weak U.S. economic data.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.3 percent to 155.65 as of 9:30 a.m. in Tokyo, poised for a 1.1 percent increase this week and the longest run of weekly advances since February. The index closed Thursday at a seven-year high. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.3 percent after the yen strengthened 0.3 percent against the dollar as rising U.S. jobless claims and weak housing data cast doubt on the nation’s economic outlook. Futures on the Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed at least 0.2 percent.
“There are plenty of positives,” said Andrew Clarke, director of trading at Hong Kong brokerage Mirabaud Asia Ltd. “The investors who have missed the rally in some of the markets are still coming in. But we have also come to a point in some markets where it’s time to take a bit of profit.”