Asian shares inched slightly higher on Friday, but grappled for firmer leads as speculation about who the next U.S. central bank chief will be kept global investors wary.
Shares in New Zealand <.nz50> slipped 0.1 percent, snapping 13 gaining sessions, after the nationalist New Zealand First Party agreed to form a new government with centre-left Labour Party following weeks of political negotiations.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus>, which scaled a 10-year peak on Tuesday, was up 0.1 percent in early trading, but still down 0.2 percent for the week.
Japan`s Nikkei <.n225> slipped 0.3 percent, still on track for a robust weekly gain of 1.1 percent. The Nikkei logged its 13th winning session on Thursday, its longest such streak since 1988.
U.S. stocks were almost flat on Thursday, with Apple Inc
The dollar buckled and U.S. bond yields dipped after a report that President Donald Trump was leaning towards Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.
Powell is the most dovish among three other Republican candidates. The current chair, Janet Yellen, a Democrat who is seen as a policy dove, is also on Trump`s short list, though few investors expect Trump to nominate a Democrat to the job.
"Clarity about the Fed nomination would be positive for the dollar," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, inched 0.1 percent lower to 93.163, up slightly for the week.
The dollar edged up to 112.59 yen
In Europe, shares notched their largest drop in two months on concerns over political upheaval in Spain and after disappointing results from large companies such as Unilever, France`s Publicis and Germany`s Kion.
Spain`s central government said on Thursday it would suspend Catalonia`s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region`s leader threatened to go ahead with a formal declaration of independence if Madrid refused to hold talks.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s ruling bloc is expected to secure a roughly two-thirds majority in Sunday`s general election.
That kind of result would not have a big impact on the yen," said Yamamoto, "but it is important to see whether or not the [ruling Liberal Democratic Party] considers it a victory for Abe or not, and it`s difficult to say where the threshold for that might be."
The New Zealand dollar
Crude oil prices firmed after shedding more than 1 percent on Thursday, breaking four days of gains, pressured by larger-than-expected product inventories in the United States and profit-taking after a recent run-up in markets.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)