Nikkei adds 0.3%
Japan's Nikkei 225 index turned positive late Friday to finish at its highest level since April 2000, extending gains into a sixth consecutive day. The Tokyo bourse had slipped into the red earlier in the day as investors awaited the BOJ's decision. For the week, the index rose 2.7 percent.
Decliners slightly outnumbered gainers, with exporters and banking counters among the hardest-hit. Blue-chip Toyota Motor closed down 0.91 percent, while Canon and Nintendo slumped more than 1 percent each. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group led losses in the banking sector to drop 0.8 percent.
Restaurant chain Skylark settled down 5.46 percent, after diving as much as 11 percent in the morning session, on news that U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital will reduce its 70 percent stake in the company by nearly 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) maintained its expansionary monetary stimulus at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Friday. The central bank kept policy steady last month, but cut its forecasts for economic growth and inflation in its outlook statement. The yen strengthened a touch to trade at 120.81 against the U.S. dollar, compared to 120.9 prior to the news release.
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Australia's S&P ASX 200 index erased morning gains to finish in the neutral territory, as banking stocks and major miners turned negative.
The financial sector came under selling pressure late in the morning session; Australia and New Zealand Banking, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank eventually dropped 0.5 percent each, while Westpac settled 0.3 percent lower.
While BHP Billiton erased a 1.2 percent gain to finish flat,Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals shed 0.3 and 0.5 percent, respectively, despite news that the Australian government will not be pursuing an inquiry into the iron ore sector.
However, the biggest laggard of the day was retailer Oroton, which slumped 13.3 percent after sounding a profit warning before the market open.
Fortunately, a 3 percent rise overnight in crude oil prices brought cheer to the oil and gas sector; Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum climbed over 2 percent each.
Kospi jumps 1.1%
South Korea's Kospi index put up a good showing to finish at its highest level since May 4. For the week, it advanced 1.9 percent, the biggest weekly gain since April 17, according to Reuters.
Outperforming the bourse, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Carbon rallied more than 5 percent each, while Hyundai Mipo Dockyard more than doubled early gains to close up 7.12 percent, on the back of upbeat analyst expectations for new ship orders and growth in operating profit.
Energy plays also contributed positive support following firmer oil prices overnight; SK Innovation leaped 6.5 percent, while S-Oil climbed 5.2 percent.
SK Telecom, the country's top mobile carrier, advanced 1.7 percent after seeing a record number of new user sign-ups for its new rate plan. The data-focused plan offers unlimited calls and text messages, with charges based solely on the amount of downloaded data.