TOKYO: Asian stocks held their ground on Friday after Wall Street gained on a surge in oil prices as attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman stoked US-Iran tensions and raised concerns over supply flows through one of the world's main sea lanes.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.
Australian stocks edged up 0.05 per cent while Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.1 per cent.
US stocks rose on Thursday after two days of declines, with energy shares rebounding on the back of crude oil's surge.
Wall Street shares have had a strong run in June on hopes the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy soon to counter a slowing global economy due to the escalating trade war with China. The S&P 500 index is up about 5 per cent so far for the month.
But equity market gains were limited ahead of the Fed's June 18-19 meeting, which will give investors an opportunity to see if the Fed's monetary policy stance is in sync with market expectations for a near-term rate cut.
"There is a large degree of uncertainty going into next week's FOMC (Federal Reserve Open Committee) meeting as market reaction will differ significantly depending on whether the Fed hints toward easing policy," said Shusuke Yamada, chief Japan FX and equity strategist at Bank Of America Merrill Lynch.
"A wait-and-see mood is likely to begin prevailing in the markets ahead of the FOMC."
In commodities, Brent crude futures slipped 0.29 per cent to $61.13 per barrel after rallying 2.3 per cent the previous day.
Brent surged on Thursday after two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, one Norwegian-owned and the other Japanese-owned.
The United States has blamed Iran for the assaults. But US and European security officials as well as regional analysts leRead More – Source