Asian stocks edged up on Friday, as investors hunted for value after an intense week of volatility, though the festering European financial crisis may mean that havens like gold and the Swiss franc may still draw buyers.
Wall Street rose 4 percent overnight on high trading volume, with relatively low valuations and short-term oversold conditions attracting buyers, though a slide in U.S. stock futures in early Asian trade kept the region's climb modest.
Intraday volatility across financial markets has spiked over the past few weeks, with rumors flying about the health of European banks, questions mounting about the stability of funding markets and authorities struggling to solve a crisis of confidence in Europe.
A European regulator ban on short-selling in four countries' financial stocks would take effect on Friday, a coordinated attempt to ease panic whose effectiveness was immediately called into question by market participants.
Japan's Nikkei share average rose 0.2 percent, boosted by a 4.7 percent jump in Canon Inc shares, which were propelled by a stock buyback plan.
"The rebound is a little lukewarm as investors want to lighten their positions and take profits ahead of the weekend after a very turbulent week," said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Cosmo Securities in Tokyo.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 0.5 percent on the day but still looking at a decline of more than 3 percent on the week.
The benchmark's 14-day RSI, a measure of momentum that is used to indicate overbought or oversold conditions, was at 28 and has been below 30 -- the oversold threshold -- for seven trading days, including Friday. That is the longest string of days below 30 since January-February 2010.
In currency markets, the euro was down 0.3 percent to $1.4201, though global focus would likely be on how the single currency fares against the Swiss franc.
The euro surged a record 5 percent against the franc overnight on speculation the Swiss central bank may be considering other measures to curb currency strength, including a peg to the euro. The euro was down 0.2 percent at 1.0830 francs in early Asian trading.
"Market reaction was probably a reflection of how long participants are of the Swiss franc," said Richard Grace, chief currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank.
Gold prices were down 0.7 percent to $1,754.29 an ounce, some 3 percent below a record high of $1,813.79 hit on Thursday. Still the metal was up 5.6 percent this week, on course for the biggest weekly gain since February 2009.