Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks were mixed on Friday but generally more composed
  • The US Dollar got a bit of respite too but remains heavy
  • Economic data was notable only by its absence and there’s not much coming later

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Asian stocks were mixed into the finish Friday in a more relaxed session which took its lead from Wall Street’s Thursday recovery.

The question of Russian influence over the Trump Administration continues to echo, but investors summoned up the will to look elsewhere on a day very short of Asia/Pacific economic news.The Nikkei closed up 0.2%, with the ASX and the Shanghai Composite down by a similar amount. The Kospi joined is Japanese counterpart in the green zone though, if only just. It closed a whisker above flat.

There was some stronger economic data out of the World’s largest economy on Thursday, which probably helped lighten the Asian market mood. Applications for joblessness benefits fell unexpectedly while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index picked up.

The battered US Dollar got some respite, too and traded above this week’s six-month lows against major rivals. The haven Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc slipped a little. Crude oil prices looked sunnier, with gains of more than 30 cents for both the US benchmark and international Brent. Investors reportedly hope for an extension of output cuts and are eyeing two straight weeks of price rises. A rare sight indeed these days. Gold prices inched up in Asia on Friday. They had fallen by more than 1% Thursday but gained for five sessions before that and are on course for the biggest weekly rise since the middle of April.

The rest of the day is extremely light in terms of scheduled economic news but it’s not a total wasteland. Canadian consumer prices are coming up, as is Eurozone consumer confidence. The US Baker-Hughes oil rig count will round out the week. Investors will hear from Vitor Constancio, Deputy President of the European Central Bank. He’ll speak at a panel discussion in Brussels moderated by his ECB colleague, chief economist Peter Praet.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard will focus on “the US Economy and Monetary Policy.” That should draw quite a crowd.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX