Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1 percent and closed at 10913.30. South Korea's Kospi Index was down 0.4 percent and closed at 1987.85.
Market sentiment turned positive as investors noted that economic data pointed to the revival of the U.S. economy. According to the data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, jobless claims, which measure the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, rose to 335,000 in the week ending Jan. 12, down from 371,000 in the previous week.
According to the data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts, which measure the change in the annualized number of residential buildings that began construction each month, rose to 954,000 in December, from 851,000 in November. The Census Bureau also reported the data on building permits, which measure the change in the number of new building permits issued by the government each month. The report showed a rise to 903,000 in December, from 900,000 in November.
Investors remained focused on earnings reported throughout the week. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) reported before the market opened Wednesday that the company’s net income climbed to $5.69 billion in the fourth quarter, from $3.73 billion in the same period last year. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) reported Wednesday that the company’s net earnings rose to $2.89 billion in the fourth quarter, from $1.01 billion in the same period last year.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) reported Thursday that the company’s net income fell to $732 million in the fourth quarter, from $1.99 billion in the same period a year earlier. Citigroup (NYSE: C) reported Thursday that the company’s net income rose to $1.20 billion in the fourth quarter, from $956 million in the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Japan’s industrial output fell in December, but less than expected, indicating that the world’s third largest-economy continues to weaken. According to the data released Friday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s industrial production fell 1.4 percent in December, from 1.7 percent fall in November and below the analysts’ forecast of a 1.7 percent drop.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.5 percent and closed at 23601.78. China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 3.3 percent and closed at 2317.07 points.
According to the data released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the country’s gross domestic product, which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced, rose to 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, from 7.4 percent in the third quarter and above the analysts’ average estimate of 7.8 percent.
The data released Friday by the NBS also showed that the country’s industrial production, which measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities, rose 10.3 percent in December, from 10.1 percent in November.
The NBS also reported that China’s retail sales, which measure the change in the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level, rose 15.2 percent in December compared to the same period last year, from 14.9 percent in November.
India's BSE Sensex was up 1.9 percent in the week and closed at 20039.04.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS: IN), India’s largest software exporter, reported Monday that the company’s revenue rose to 16070 crore rupees ($3 billion) in the October-December quarter, from 15621 crore rupees in the previous quarter. Market confidence was lifted to know the encouraging revenue growth of TCS.
Meanwhile, Wipro Ltd (WPRO: IN), a major IT company in India, reported Friday that the company’s net profit rose to 1716 crore rupees in the October-December quarter, from 1611 crore rupees in the previous quarter.
Major Gainers: Shares of Sony Corp (TYO: 6758) climbed 17 percent. Shares of Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd (HKG:0001) gained 3.7 percent and those of Honda Motor Corp (TYO: 7267) rose 1.8 percent.