HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Friday following an uneven set of data from the United States, while sentiment was weighed by news that Spain's credit rating had been slashed.
The yen eased ahead of a policy meeting by the Bank of Japan and following figures highlighting the weakness of the world's number three economy.
Tokyo fell 0.11 percent by the break, Sydney shed 0.18 percent and Shanghai was 0.23 percent lower, while Hong Kong gained 0.36 percent and Seoul added 0.34 percent.
The US National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that pending home sales rose in March, providing a lift to investors amid hopes of a recovery in the crucial sector.
The group said its pending home sales index -- which represents contracts signed but not closed -- rose 4.1 percent in March to 101.4, its highest level since April 2010 when it hit 111.3. It added that on a 12-month basis, pending sales were up 12.8 percent.
Also on Thursday the Commerce Department said new jobless claims remained at high levels after edging up in recent weeks.
It said 388,000 people made claims in the week to April 21, compared to a revised 389,000 the previous week and a four-week moving average of 381,750, adding to concerns about Washington's battle against unemployment.
On Wall Street the Dow gained 0.87 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.67 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.69 percent. (AFP)