Major averages have been dented this week amid uncertainty about when the Fed may start winding down its stimulus program. The Dow and S&P 500 have declined more than 1 percent each for the week. The Dow is poised to log its first weekly drop in seven.
(Read more: Art Cashin: The market 'check engine light' is on)
Most recently, Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher reiterated on Thursday that the central bank will likely begin cutting back on its massive bond-buying stimulus in September as long as economic data continues to improve.
"The assumption has been that September is a likely start date and the only thing that would hold them back is very disappointing economic news between now and then," said Albright. "But I'm not sure if the market is prepared for an abrupt end of the QE program…the concept of tapering has led market participants to believe this would be a more drawn out event."
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite rallied 1 percent for the week to close above the 2,050 mark, lifted by better-than-expected industrial output numbers for July, plus a healthy increase in fixed asset investment in the first seven months of the year. Meanwhile, Chinese consumer prices were unchanged in July on the previous month, and producer prices fell an annualized 2.3 percent.
"More spending is called for, while further acceleration in credit growth is discouraged. This approach requires significant improvement in capital allocation efficiency to work. There is no quick magic, and so patience and tolerance is still required," analysts at SG Global Economics wrote in a research note.
(Read more: China's factories remain in deflation, producer prices show)
Meanwhile, a marginally weaker yen helped Japan's benchmark Nikkei index rebound from the previous day's one-month low. Dollar-yen traded at the 96.60 handle, after hitting a new seven-week low overnight.