Asian stocks paused on Friday, a day after posting their biggest single-day rise in more than two months, as investors cashed in some gains and looked ahead to a key European summit next week for more progress on tackling the euro-zone debt crisis.
Coordinated central bank action to cut the cost of funds in money markets, plus a Chinese move to free up more bank capital, sparked a big rally in risky assets before some mixed economic data from the United States to China led to profit-taking.
Barclays Capital strategists suggested that the markets' underlying appetite for risk remained muted.
With monthly U.S. payrolls data due later in the day and an important European summit on December 9, investors would be wary of adding large positions going into the tricky year-end period.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is urging progress towards a new euro-zone fiscal compact and is willing to act more aggressively, while the leaders of France and Germany are working hard at a compromise.
Investors' alarm over the euro-zone debt crisis and the short-term outlook seems to have receded slightly, but without more trading volume it is difficult to see the Nikkei push near 8,700, said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
Indices in South Korea to Japan were broadly flat to slightly higher. MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was steady after jumping more than 4 percent on Thursday.
On Wall Street, the Dow <.DJI> and the S&P 500 <.SPX> dipped slightly and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> made slight gains <.N> S&P futures were up 0.2 percent.
In currency markets, the euro struggled to extend its hefty gains of this week, with traders focused on the closely watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday.
Due at 1330 GMT, the labour data is expected to show an increase of 122,000 jobs and a steady unemployment rate of 9.0 percent. A positive surprise is likely to underpin risk sentiment, while a weaker-than-expected outcome could prompt investors to take more profits on recent gains.
Spot gold traded flat on Friday while U.S. crude futures dipped slightly to around $100 a barrel.