NEW YORK: Asian investors were expecting a mixed day of trading after Wall Street peaked on Thursday, pushed upward by continued optimism about economic stimulus to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic promised by newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden.
"The markets had such a strong run yesterday after the presidential inauguration in the U.S. and the run-up to that, that the lead coming in from the U.S. is a bit messy," said Shane Oliver, chief economist at investment manager AMP Capital in Sydney. "A lot of the good news is out there. I suspect a fairly flat day."
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.02per cent.
Australia's ASX 200 fell 0.08per cent in early trade Friday.
On Thursday, the Nikkei 225 index closed up .82per cent, and the futures contract is now down 0.49per cent from the close.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were down 0.17per cent.
On Wall Street, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs on Thursday, up .03per cent and .55per cent, respectively.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04per cent. It had been poised for a record until falling into negative territory in the final minutes of trading.
The U.S. dollar fell on Thursday for the third straight session, as investors ploughed their money into higher-yielding currencies on optimism about a recovery from the pandemic in the world's largest economy.
U.S. Treasury yields on the longer end of the curve inched up along with inflation expectations on Thursday as the market eyed the prospect for additional debt supply under Biden's administration.
Oil prices steadied on Thursday after data showed an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories that revived pandemic-related fuel demand concerns. Hopes for a U.S. stimulus package also lifted prices.
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Stephen Coates)