(Reuters) - Asian shares eased Friday, when many markets were closed for the Easter holiday, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of key U.S. jobs data, avoiding risk after rising yields in weaker euro zone countries refueled concern about Europe.
Worries about Spain's rising bond yields were somewhat offset, however, by fresh U.S. data on Thursday that provided more evidence of a recovering labor market, raising the prospect for the non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday to be solid.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell for a third straight session, easing 0.1 percent.
Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> was down 0.8 percent.
With many markets shut and the U.S. jobs data awaited, I don't think people will be too active, said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc.
Government bond yields of highly indebted Italy and Spain rose further on Thursday, boosting investors' safe-haven appetite for U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds, as well as gold.
Euro was steady at $1.3060 after hitting a three-week low of $1.3035 on Thursday, while the dollar index <.DXY>, measured against key currencies, closed above 80 for the first time in three weeks on Thursday.
Thursday's data showed U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest level since April 2008, another positive news following a report on private-sector jobs earlier this week, boding well for the American government's widely watched monthly employment figures due on Friday.
A Reuters survey showed the U.S. economy likely recorded a fourth month of solid job growth in March, adding 203,000 jobs, after non-farm payrolls rose 227,000 in February. A solid report could further reduce the need of additional monetary measures to spur faster economic growth.
FX markets may be ready to grant a win-win positioning to the US dollar ahead of Friday's US jobs report, said Ashraf Laidi, chief global strategist at City Index Group.
A neutral-to-strong reading would reduce the case for outright asset purchases, while a disappointing figure may not be sufficiently detrimental to invalidate the recent data strength upon which rising yields had rested, he said.
The dollar index closing at 81.00 suggests a clear sign of bullish trend, followed by a breach of the 81.80 January high, and only a fall below 78.80 would signal fresh losses, he said.
In contrast to the U.S. outlook, reports on Thursday showed German industrial output fell more than expected in February and British factory output suffered its biggest monthly fall in almost a year.
Oil rose on Thursday after two straight days of losses, on firm U.S. data and fears of Iran-related supply disruptions.
Brent crude futures rose 0.89 percent to settle at $123.43 a barrel on Thursday, while U.S. crude rose 1.81 percent to settle at $103.31.
(Additional reporting by Dominic Lau in Tokyo; Editing by Richard Borsuk)