Asia Markets

Shanghai stocks shoot up nearly 3%; US optimism lifts risk sentiment


Mainland shares rallied to a two-week high on Friday while the rest of Asian equities also gained after better-than-expected U.S data restored confidence in the economic recovery.

Trade was quiet however with Japanese markets shut for 'Vernal Equinox' Day.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose by 5,000 to 320,000 last week, below the 325,000 estimated, data on Thursday showed. The four-week moving average for new claims, viewed as a better gauge overall of labor conditions, dropped to its lowest since November. That saw the and S&P 500 gain 0.7 and 0.6 percent, respectively.

(Read more: Wall St looks to earnings to confirm valuations)

Shanghai 2.7% higher

Gains in the real-estate sector spurred the benchmark Shanghai Composite's rally after regulators approved the private share sale of two firms on Thursday, the first approvals in four years.

China Vanke and Poly Real Estate jumped over 6 percent each while China Merchants Property soared by the maximum daily limit of 10 percent.

(Read more: China moving closer to unleashing fresh stimulus)

Chinese property sector is still stable: S&P

Meanwhile, the yuan hit a 13-month low against the greenback, posting its biggest weekly loss since 1992.

In Hong Kong, earnings dominated trade. GOME Electrical Appliances rallied 8 percent after reporting a better-than-expected 2013 profit while global trading giant Li & Fung soared as much as 20 percent after reporting a 17 percent rise in annual profits.

Sydney gains 0.8%

Australia's benchmark index moved off the previous day's 1-month low, ending the week 0.2 percent higher, while the Australian dollar hovered around 90 U.S. cents.

(Read more: Aussie resilience: Here today, gone tomorrow?)

News that Roy Hill, the nation's fourth-largest iron ore producer, secured $7.2 billion in debt for a mining project lifted sentiment amid the resources sector. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton rose 1 percent each.

Metcash tumbled as much as 10 percent after announcing that total capital expenditure was estimated to decline to A$130 million in 2016.

Kospi 0.8% higher

South Korean shares also recovered after closing at a 6-week low in the previous session.

Amid large-caps, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and LG Display rose over 2 percent each.

By's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC