Asian shares followed their U.S. peers lower on Friday despite upbeat global economic data as profit-taking set in amid low trading volumes. Japanese markets remained closed and will resume trade on January 6.
Wall Street recorded its first negative start to a year since 2008 as investors took profits on recent gains. The Dow posted its worst day in two months, with better-than-expected manufacturing reports in the U.S. and Europe failing to offer much comfort.
Attention now turns to a raft of speeches from Federal Reserve officials later in the day. Fed chief Ben Bernanke, alongside Plosser, Lacker, Stein, Dudley and Rosengren are due to speak and markets will be looking for hints of further reductions in monthly bond purchases.
(Read more: 'Dr. Doom' Roubini gets bullish on global economy)