The dollar struggled to regain ground on Friday as tepid U.S. economic data prompted investors to favor higher yielding currencies like the euro while a sluggish Wall Street session weighed on stocks.
A slew of poor U.S. data and lack of fresh drivers prompted investors to shy away from taking aggressive bets on stocks in Asia, though some scattered buying were seen in some counters such as technology and consumer durables.
Japanese shares <.N225> opened lower, but edged higher ahead of the outcome of Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting that ends on Friday, where it is widely expected to hold rates.
Outside Japan, the broader Asian market <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was mostly flat. Korean shares <.KS11> were slightly higher while Australian shares <.AXJO> dipped, led by miners.
Markets will largely trade within a fairly limited range, though we are not likely to see big falls today following the sizeable losses in the previous session, said Chung Seung-jae, a market analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.
Overnight, main Wall Street indices posted meager gains as the S&P 500 <.SPX> struggled to make progress above the 1,340 level, though broader market action was overshadowed by social networking company LinkedIn Corp
Tech counters in the region might gain after LinkedIn's
Data showing a slowdown in manufacturing growth in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region and an unexpected dip in existing home sales in April cemented views that if economic data continues to disappoint it could push out Fed action until well into 2012 or perhaps even later.
That gave the euro a brief respite after recent heavy selling, with the single currency holding much of its overnight gains versus the dollar, though lingering concerns about the possibility of debt restructuring in Greece could limit the euro's gains.
Bonds gave a thumbs up to the data with 10-year U.S. Treasury yields dipping slightly to around 3.18 percent though some analysts warned the market's six-week rally was near an end. Yields have fallen from as high as 3.62 percent on April 8.
Oil prices inched up ahead of a contract expiry while spot gold edged higher on bargain hunting.