Asian stocks were mostly lower amid choppy trade on Friday, tracking the lackluster lead from Wall Street as uncertainty over the outlook of U.S monetary policy sapped investor confidence.
In a speech that occurred after the market close, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said that an interest-rate hike "sometime later this year" would likely be appropriate, though the decision hinges on economic data. Yellen was speaking at the University of Massachusetts on Thursday.
The greenback jumped against a basket of currencies after the speech. The euro fell about 0.5 percent to $1.1174 from around $1.1230 while dollar-yen rose to around 120.27, from around 120.00 before Yellen's remarks.
"Our view for a December rate hike has not changed," Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan of Singapore's Mizuho Bank wrote in a note. "Overall, we acknowledge that some caution prevail amid China's wobbles and a strong [greenback] but U.S. data releases continue to point to a broad recovery picture. With no major data releases or events, Fed's policy outlook may be the key driver in markets today."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.5 percent, with Caterpillar down 6.3 percent on news that the firm will cut up to 5,000 jobs by end-2016 and lowered guidance. The S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite more than halved losses in the afternoon trading session to finish 0.4 percent lower.