- As investors awaited critical data for indications on the Federal Reserve's rate-hike campaign, Asian stocks fell, while contracts for US equities moved down.
- A measure of Asian equities was set to fall for the fourth week in a row, the biggest losing sequence since September. After the results of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, Hong Kong-listed tech companies led the decline, with analysts remaining cautious on the company's revenue projections.
- US stock futures fell after Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Thursday in a volatile session, as investors await the release of the Fed's preferred price gauge, the personal consumption expenditures index, on Friday, which is expected to show acceleration amid robust income and spending growth.
- Japanese markets are under scrutiny, with statistics showing increasing inflation on Friday as the government's nominee for the next central bank governor faced his first questioning in parliament.
- The yen lost ground versus the dollar after BoJ's Governor Nominee Ueda warned lawmakers that inflation was nearing its peak. He said the current policy easing was reasonable, but that if stable 2% inflation is achieved, the central bank may proceed towards normalisation.