Asian Equities Looking to Finish Week Higher

Asian shares opened higher on Friday, aided by a higher Wall Street and eased tensions over Greece, while the dollar extended gains versus the euro and yen as economic indicators bolstered expectations for a U.S. rate hike by year-end.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.1 percent. The performance of volatile Chinese stocks, which start trading later in the day, will be watched to see if recent gains are kept.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.2 percent on a softer yen, while South Korea’s Kospi .KS11 climbed 0.5 percent. Australian shares .AXJO were little changed.  Wall Street gained overnight, with the Nasdaq up more than 1 percent to a record high after earnings reports from eBay (EBAY.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O) boosted optimism.

Moves in Europe on Thursday to reopen funding to near-bankrupt Greece also improved risk sentiment. Greece will receive bridge loans, enabling it to make a bond payment to the European Central Bank on Monday and clear arrears with the International Monetary Fund.  The lessening of foreseeable Greek risk also continued to push the euro lower, with focus back on U.S. and European monetary policy divergences.