Asian stocks rose cautiously Friday with markets modestly higher with Australia finishing just below the 6,000 level. But Japan closed in negative territory on profit-taking after spending most of the session in the black.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average snapped a four-day winning streak on Friday to close down by 0.23 percent as investors moved to lock in profits and exporters such as Canon were sold on a slightly stronger yen, though the benchmark still saw its strongest week in 3 months. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and other shippers buoyed the market, extending gains on continuing demand for iron ore into China that helped push the Baltic Exchange's chief sea freight index to a record high.
Australian shares gained 0.7 percent, approaching the 6,000 mark for the first time in over
three months, with BHP Billiton adding 1.5 percent on fresh speculation of Chinese interest in the firm.