Asian markets finished the week mixed Friday with Australia setting a new record as the surge in oil and commodity prices boosted shares of resource producers. But Japanese stocks lost steam after yesterday's advance and finished the day weaker.
The U.S. dollar hovered near a record low as this week's string of poor U.S. economic reports showing a further deterioration in the housing market have reinforced expectations for further Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.
But hopes for looser monetary policy in the United States combined with signs of solid growth elsewhere have prompted investors to shift funds into stocks and commodities, with U.S. crude oil prices climbing back near a record peak of $83.90
A slew of economic reports in Japan showed consumer spending and industrial production were stronger than expected in August, while factory activity contracted at a slightly slower pace in September despite the credit market turmoil.