Asian stocks edged up on Friday, heading for a fifth straight week of gains, with energy stocks outperforming as oil held above $82 a barrel.
The yen dipped, dented by speculation the Bank of Japan could further loosen its monetary policy in the near term, while the dollar eased ahead of what is expected to be weak U.S. retail sales data later in the day.
The softer dollar <.DXY> supported gold, helping it off a two-week low of $1,100 touched the previous session.
European shares were set to open firmer, rebounding from Thursday's 0.3 percent fall, with banking shares in focus after U.S. talks to force broad banking reform collapsed. <.EU>
Global stocks, led by developed markets, have been pushing higher since early February, helped by improving sentiment around Greece's debt woes, hopes for economic recovery and robust fund flows.
Japanese stocks again led the advance, with the Nikkei <.N225> average rising 0.8 percent to its highest close in seven weeks as investors bet the weaker yen would help exporters.
The risk of a strong yen appears to be receding as the Bank of Japan is expected to move toward more monetary easing, increasing demand for shares of exporters, said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.
The dollar inched up 0.1 percent from late U.S. trade to 90.62 yen, within sight of a two-week peak of 90.83 yen hit on trading platform EBS on Wednesday.
The euro struck a two-week high at 124.23 yen.
FUNDS LIKE JAPAN
Japan equity funds have attracted net inflows for the past 11 straight weeks, the longest streak in almost three years, according to funds flow tracking firm EPFR Global.
MSCI's index of other Asia Pacific shares <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 0.2 percent on the day and was up around 2 percent for the week.
The Shanghai Composite index <.SSEC> was the worst performer among the region's larger markets, down 1.2 percent, while Seoul's KOSPI <.KS11> rose 0.4 percent.
Broader market sentiment has been improving in recent sessions as key uncertainties such as southern European debt issues have eased, said Han Beom-ho, a market analyst at Shinhan Investment Corporation in South Korea.
Wall Street also provided support, with the S&P 500 Index <.SPX> hitting a 17-month closing high on Thursday.
Banks led a late U.S. rally after bipartisan Senate talks aimed at developing legislation to overhaul U.S. financial regulation collapsed.
S&P stock futures pointed to a higher open on Friday and have now risen for 10 straight days for only the second time since 1987 this has happened.
Stock market gains weighed on government debt, with Japanese government bonds falling. The benchmark 10-year yield climbed 2.5 basis points to 1.34 percent, its highest in a week.
Commodity markets were little moved on Friday, with oil edging up five cents to $82.14 and heading for a second consecutive weekly rise.
Crude hit an eight-week high of $83.03 on Wednesday
(Additional reporting by Aiko Hayashi in TOKYO and Jungyoun Park in SEOUL; Editing by Kim Coghill)