Asian markets

Asian markets rose Friday after falling for much of the week, with below-forecast US data injecting some fresh life into hopes the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year.

The readings came ahead of the release of the central bank's favoured gauge of inflation later in the day, which could provide more of an idea about the outlook for monetary policy.

Bets on how many reductions, if any, will be announced this year have been whittled down since January owing to a string of outsized data and warnings from decision-makers that they want to see strong evidence prices are under control before moving.

Most have called for rates to be kept elevated for some time, while some have even advocated for another hike.

Meanwhile, the yen edged up against the dollar on expectations the Bank of Japan will tighten monetary policy further -- having hiked rates in March for the first time in 17 years -- following a jump in closely watched Tokyo inflation.

Investors in Asia, who have struggled to revive a recent rally, were given a much-needed lift by US data Thursday showing the economy grew less than expected in the first quarter, personal consumption missed forecasts and jobless claims topped estimates.

The figures helped push Treasury yields down after they hit a four-week high.

But all focus is now on the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which the Fed puts the most faith in when considering its plans for rates.

The report comes after data showed consumer prices eased last month -- ending a run of three successive above-forecast prints -- and the jobs market softened.

"Assuming the PCE comes in OK, the data suggests the Fed doesn't need to hike and may cut later in the year,"'s Kyle Rodda said.

Friday also sees the release of the latest eurozone consumer price index, a key data point ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting on June 6, when it is tipped to reduce rates.

A weak showing among most tech giants weighed on Wall Street, though Asian investors went their own way after a week of selling.

Hong Kong rose more than one percent, while there were also gains in Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta.

There was little reaction to data showing China's factory activity contracted in May for the first time in three months, denting fragile optimism about the recovery in the economy.

Still, Mark Mobius, the co-founder of Mobius Capital Partners, said he had turned bullish on the outlook for Chinese equities in recent weeks after authorities unveiled a range of measures aimed at supporting the country's troubled property market.

On forex markets, the yen strengthened against the greenback on the inflation figures out of Tokyo, which are seen as a barometer for Japan, fuelling bets on another rate hike.

"The BoJ has been signalling further tightening, and this inflation print continues to leave room for the central bank to take further action to normalise policy and support the yen," said Saxo's Charu Chanana.

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 38,119.96 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.3 percent at 18,458.04

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,100.63

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 156.69 from 156.82 yen on Thursday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2722 from $1.2733

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0821 from $1.0834

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.05 from 85.07 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 at $77.61 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $81.64 per barrel

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.9 percent at 38,111.48 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 8,235.15 (close)