Japan's Nikkei share average <.N225> rose to a 10-month high on Friday after upbeat eurozone growth data and positive earnings from the world's largest retailer helped offset gloomy U.S. retail and jobs data, factors which brought down the dollar.
Commodity prices also got a boost from economic optimism, while the Australian dollar surged to a 2009 peak as comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia chief caused markets to price in a greater chance of an interest rate rise before year end.
Oil prices rose for the third straight day and copper prices extended their stunning rally as market hopes for a robust economic recovery were reflected in a strong Wall Street finish after U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart's
U.S. Treasuries held on to overnight gains after investors snapped up a record $15 billion auction of 30-year U.S. government bonds, offsetting fears foreign buyers may demand higher yields for holding longer maturities.
The stock market rally in Asia, now in its sixth month, received a further boost after Germany and France, the euro zone's two biggest economies, both reported 0.3 percent second- quarter growth, ending their recessions earlier than expected.
The positive figures out of Germany and France are still a favorable factor for the market, though such prospects had been somewhat priced in during the global market rally over the past month, said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments.
Stock market gains have slowed markedly in recent weeks, however, on fears that share prices have got too far ahead of economic fundamentals and look expensive when compared with weak company earnings forecasts.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific shares traded outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 0.75 percent in morning trade, nearing an 11-month high, before surrendering all of its gains on investor caution heading into the weekend.
The index has climbed around 80 percent since March 9, when a global equity rally began.
EURO OFFSETS GLOOMY US
Overnight, the European optimism helped offset gloomy U.S. jobs and retail data.
Wall Street was also cheered by the second-quarter earnings and outlook from Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Paulson, who had made a fortune betting against financial companies after foreseeing the credit crisis -- disclosed that he had bought large stakes in several banks, including Bank of America
The U.S. Commerce Department reported retail sales fell 0.1 percent in July, defying market expectations of a gain and the number of workers filing initial applications for unemployment benefits rose, belying anticipations of a drop.
The negative economic data from the United States brought down the dollar <.DXY>, which remained weak against the yen in early trade on Friday.
The dollar was 0.1 percent lower against the yen compared to late U.S. trading on Thursday at 95.42 yen, after dipping to as low as around 95.25 yen earlier in the day as Thursday's dismal data cast a shadow over an anticipated consumer rebound.
The Australian dollar received a leg-up after an upbeat assessment of the Australian economy by Australian central bank Governor Glenn Stevens was taken as a hint that Australia could be the first major developed nation to raise rates.
Financial markets moved in to price in a 90 percent chance of a quarter percentage point rate rise in November, from around 72 percent before his comments.
Commodity bulls remained busy with U.S. oil for September delivery up 0.85 percent at $71.13 a barrel, while copper traded in Shanghai rose 1.5 percent.
Shanghai's benchmark third-month copper futures hit 51,280 yuan a tonne in early trade, its highest since early October last year.
It is on course for its strongest weekly gain in more than two months, tracking London's rally in the previous session, but market nervousness is also building over the sustainability of the stunning surge of the last few days.