By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Asian shares got a bright start on Friday, catching some of Wall Street's shine after upbeat U.S. price and jobless claims data calmed some recent concerns about the strength of the U.S. economy.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5 percent in early trading, touching fresh two-month highs and on track for a robust weekly gain of 1.6 of percent.
Japan's Nikkei stock index was up 1 percent, but still poised to shed about 0.9 percent for the week.
Wall Street logged solid gains overnight, after the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell back to a 42-year low last week. That suggested the labor market remained strong even though recent jobs data has sent mixed signals.
Also out overnight, the core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, gained 0.2 percent in September after ticking up 0.1 percent in August, reviving some bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will deliver its first interest rate hike since 2006 as early as this year.
The U.S. central bank held policy steady last month, and expressed concerns that the slowing global economy, particularly in China, might pose a threat to the U.S. economic outlook.
Rekindled rate-hike expectations lifted the dollar. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against a basket of six major counterparts, was up 0.2 percent at 94.524, but still on track for a weekly loss of about 0.3 percent.
Still, some investors remained cautious ahead of China's latest economic growth data scheduled to be released on Monday.
Growth in the world's second-largest economy is expected to slow to 6.5 percent in the third quarter, falling below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis.
"China's economy is growing fast - though not as fast as analysts and investors would like - and that is all you need to know," Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients on Friday.
Oil prices took back overnight losses made when the U.S. government reported a larger-than-expected crude stockpile build,
U.S. crude CLc1 was up 1.2 percent at $46.92 a barrel, after shedding 0.6 percent on Thursday. Brent added 0.9 percent to $50.19.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Eric Meijer)