Asian stocks eased on Friday before a slew of earnings from corporate heavyweights in the region, while Japanese government bond futures rose despite a ratings cut.
* The MSCI index of Asian stocks outside Japan <.MIAPJ00000PUS> fell 0.3 percent in early deals despite an overnight rally on Wall Street. The Nikkei <.N225> fell by more than 1 percent, weighed down by financial stocks.
* Since the start of 2011, Asian stocks have underperformed the MSCI world index <.MIWD00000PUS>, which has risen by 2.5 percent, as investors have booked profits, particularly in markets, which are seen vulnerable to inflationary pressures.
* On Thursday, Standard & Poor's cut Japan's credit rating by a notch for the first time since 2002 and Moody's warned that it might turn negative on the U.S. rating outlook if the deficit continued to swell.
* March 10-year futures opened lower, but quickly reversed losses to be up 0.17 points at 139.95 as the downgrade had largely been seen as a matter of time. On Thursday evening, it fell to as low as 139.48 immediately after the downgrade.
* Ten-year yields edged lower to 1.215 percent, moving further away from this month's peak of 1.260 percent hit last week.
* Citigroup analysts said the downgrade might dissuade regional reserve managers from investing in Japanese assets on the margin but won't trigger a large scale dumping of bonds.
* The euro held most of its 1 percent gain at 113.71 after hitting a two-month peak around 114.00. In contrast, the dollar, after rallying by a big figure to as high as 83.22 yen, it lapsed to 82.87 in early Asian trade.
* Gold held near four-month lows, after falling more than two percent in the previous session, as safe-haven demand was depressed by a steady drip of positive data from Europe and the United States.
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Shinichi Saoshiro in TOKYO)