Asian markets were mostly in the green on Friday, after the release of strong private payrolls stateside and as President Donald Trump announced the US would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.
Trump said on Thursday that the US would withdraw from the climate agreement, but wanted to negotiate for new arrangements that were more "fair" to the US In response, European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in a statement that the Paris agreement "cannot be renegotiated." The agreement aims to ensure global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Meanwhile, US private payrolls data for the month of May raised market expectations for the upcoming nonfarm payrolls report due Friday US time. The ADP report reflected that private sector employment rose by 253,000 jobs compared to forecasts of 185,000.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.07 per cent.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.64 per cent, driven by its materials and financials sub-indexes which were up 0.97 per cent and 0.88 per cent respectively. Financial stocks traded higher, while shares of major miners were up by more than 1 per cent.
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index was higher by 0.75 per cent as markets digested the release of revised Q1 GDP, which reflected the economy grew 2.9 per cent on year compared to the 2.7 per cent forecast.
Markets in greater China were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.41 per cent. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.34 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite fell 0.549 per cent.
Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China set the reference point for the yuan at 6.8070 to the dollar - compared to the yuan's last close of 6.8062 - Reuters reported. The yuan hit a seven-month high in the last session. In the on-shore market, the yuan traded at 6.8050 per dollar, while the offshore yuan traded at 6.7642 to the dollar.
Shares of Japanese automakers traded higher early on Friday after May auto sales in the US reflected that Nissan and Honda recorded increases in sales on year, but Toyota fell just short. Nissan shares jumped 1.4 per cent, Honda was up 1.61 per cent and Toyota was higher by 0.65 per cent.
Korean automakers were in the red after US auto sales reflected weaker sales in May on year for Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. Hyundai was down 0.91 per cent and Kia tumbled 1.01 per cent.
Hong Kong-listed gaming stocks traded higher after revenues of Macau casinos rose amidst the ongoing anti-corruption drive and capital controls in China. Gaming revenues surged 24 per cent to 22.7 billion Macau patacas (S$3 billion) in the month of May, according to Reuters. Melco International Development jumped 2.23 per cent, Galaxy Entertainment rose 1.45 per cent and Wynn Macau surged 1.47 per cent.
The dollar was firmer against a basket of six major currencies: The dollar index traded at 97.180 at 9:35 a.m. HK/SIN, which was off a low of 96.903 set in the last session.
Dollar/yen hit a one-week high, with the greenback fetching 111.59 yen. This was higher than levels around 110.8 seen earlier in the week.
The Australian dollar was steady following two consecutive sessions of declines. The Aussie traded as low as $0.7368 in the last session after the release of weaker-than-expected private sector manufacturing numbers out of China yesterday. The Aussie last traded at $0.7385.
Oil prices were lower on worries about oversupply in markets. US crude was down 0.56 per cent at $48.09 a barrel and Brent crude was 0.41 per cent lower at $50.42.
Over on Wall Street, stocks closed the session higher following the release of stronger economic data, with all three major indexes closing more than 0.6 per cent up.