ASX rises 1.1%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index led gains in the region to finish at a more than three-week high. Analysts attribute the broad-based rally to a confluence of factors such as a weaker Australian dollar and the trend of month-end buying.
"[The market rose] despite no major stock-specific catalysts. Perhaps the yield story came into sharper focus [after] this week's soft data and a lower Aussie dollar has enticed some offshore-domiciled investors back into our equity market," analysts from Patersons Securities wrote in a note.
Banking shares attracted hefty buy orders after several sessions of lackluster trading. National Australia Bank was the top gainer with a 2.6 percent rise, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking and Westpac rallied over 1 percent each.
The resources sector was largely buoyant, except for Fortescue Metals and BC Iron which closed down 0.4 and 7.1 percent, respectively.
Underperforming the bourse, Alchemia slumped 52 percent to record lows following an update on its quarterly profit. Shares of the drug developer were on trading halt since May 22 pending an announcement regarding its profit share on the sales of fondaparinux. Fondaparinux is an anti-coagulant generic drug sold by India's Dr.Reddy's Laboratories.
The Sydney index shed 0.22 percent for May.
Kospi adds 0.2%
South Korea's Kospi index edged up on Friday, as heavyweight components largely advanced. For the month, the Seoul bourse shed 0.92 percent.
Steelmaker Posco and Hyundai Motor closed up 1.7 and 1.3 percent, respectively, while SK Hynix extended gains into a fourth straight session, up 2.9 percent following an upgrade in its credit rating from A+ to AA- on Thursday.
The country's three main telecom operators were stung by news that the government plans to select a fourth telecom carrier within the year. Shares of SK Telecom and KT Corporation plummeted 3.3 and 2.5 percent, while LG Uplus shed 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Steel Co. and its affiliate Hyundai Hysco climbed 1.9 and 1 percent, respectively, after news that a proposed merger deal between the two has been approved.
On the domestic data front, industrial output fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent in April, marking its fastest pace of decline since January, following a revised 0.3 percent drop in March.