Investing.com - Asian shares fell on Friday after a weak session on Wall Street, though many bourses in the region were up slightly so far on the week.
Japan''s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% in early trade after Wall Street closed Thursday slightly lower after mixed reports that showed the U.S. economy recovery pace is open to second guessing.
Still, the Nikkei is up 4.3% rise so far this month, making it one of the best performers in June.
Elsewhere in Asia, trading on New Zealand''s stock exchange was halted due to "connectivity" problems for some customers. The market opened slightly up before the technical glitch. South Korea''s KOSPI lost 0.3% and Australia''s S&P/ASX 200 rose by 0.3%.
Sydney was able to buck the regional decline as mining stocks supported the market after the spot price of iron ore rose 1.7% overnight.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) jumped 2.7% in Sydney, Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) gained 0.7%, and Atlas Iron Ltd (ASX:AGO) was 1.5% higher.
For the week, most Asian markets eked out small gains. Australia and South Korea were among the best performers, up 1.1% and 1% respectively, since last Friday. The Nikkei, however, was down 0.6% over the same period, as the index pulled back from strong gains from earlier in the month.
Overnight, U.S. stocks fell after a leading Federal Reserve official suggested interest rates could begin rising in early 2015.
The Dow 30 fell 0.13%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.12%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.02%.
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told Fox Business Network earlier that an improving economy may make conditions ripe for interest rates to rise possibly in early 2015.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that U.S. gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter of the year, far surpassing consensus forecasts for a decline of 1.7%, though markets quickly brushed off the dismal numbers as a weather-related disappointment.
"I think the market''s right to shake this off," Bullard told the network, describing the contraction as an "aberration."
"If you throw out the first quarter and just look forward over the next four quarters, most forecasters have 3%-plus growth."
Inflation, while still low, is on the rise and approaching the Fed''s 2% target.
"My forecast actually has us moving through 2% and over 2% in 2015," which dampened stock prices by convincing many that rates may rise sooner than once expected.
Lackluster data kept many investors on the sidelines as well.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending June 21 declined by 2,000 to 312,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 314,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 4,000 to 310,000 last week.
A separate report showed that U.S. personal spending rose 0.2% last month, below expectations for an increase of 0.4%. Personal spending for April was revised to a flat reading from a previously reported decline of 0.1%.
On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with revised data on consumer sentiment.