Gains on Wall Street lifted Asian equities on the last day of the week, but trading in the region was subdued with many markets shut for the Lunar New Year holiday.
On the U.S. data front, jobless claims increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000, rebounding from a near 45-year low. The producer price index, meanwhile, rose 0.4 percent in January, in line with expectations.
Over in Asia, there’s set to be less activity than normal, with markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam closed.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei rallied 1.26 percent as the yen wobbled against the greenback. The currency fetched 106.04 per dollar at 10:22 a.m, hitting a new 15-month high for the second consecutive day.
Used-car dealer Idom soared 3.7 percent on news that it is partnering with Uber in Africa.
Beer manufacturer Sapporo Holdings slumped 5.6 percent after posting a 16 percent drop in 2017 operating profit.
In economic news, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’sadministration reappointed Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda for another five-year term in an indication that the country’s stimulus policy will remain unchanged.
The Australian dollar, meanwhile, traded near a two-week high against the greenback, hovering around $0.7949.
Private hospital operator Healthscope jumped 5 percent on hopes for a potential sale of its Asian pathology business.
The Reserve Bank of Australia plans to leave interest rates at their current record lows for a while, Governor Philip Lowe said on Friday, adding that he hoped for gradual improvement in the unemployment rate.