SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Japan surged on Friday as investors and traders returned to their desks after a national holiday.
Japan, however, was the only bright spot across the region, as most markets either fell or moved up only moderately.
Fear of inflation, despite the positive CPI data in the U.S., kept buyers at bay. Some, however, believe inflation is peaking. "There are too many uncertainties to know the path of oil and other CPI prices ahead, but the peak of inflation is clearly behind us," Reuters reported Nikko Asset Management chief global strategist John Vail as saying in a note Friday.
"The key question is how far and how fast it will fall. We believe inflation will be quite sticky, and central banks will need to be more hawkish than consensus," Vail said.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 727.65 points or 2.62 percent to close Friday at 28,546.98.
The Australian All Ordinaries slid 36.60 points or 0.50 percent to 7,288.80.
New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 fell 29.49 points or 0.25 percent to 11,730.52.
In China, the Shanghai Composite slipped 4.78 points or 0.15 percent to 3,276.89.
South Korea's Kospi Composite inched up 4.16 points or 0.16 percent to 2,527.94.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 93.19 points or 0.46 percent to close Friday at 20,175.62.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was still feeling the heat. The euro was strongly bid at 1.0304 Friday. The British pound was holding on to most of its recent gains at 1.2190. The Japanese yen was the biggest mover, falling 1.15 percent during the Asian time zone to 133.33. The Swiss franc eased to 0.9418.
The Canadian dollar was slightly stronger at 1.2745. The Australian dollar was well bid at 0.7122. The New Zealand dollar traded at 0.6457.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials increased 27.16 points or 0.08 percent to 33,336.67.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 74.89 points or 0.58 percent to 12,779.91.
The Standard and Poor's 500 slipped 2.97 points or 0.07 percent to 4,207.27.