Most Asian shares advance; Nikkei extends streak

Most Asian shares rose in early trading Friday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 stock reversing initial losses to extend a four-day winning streak.

Oil prices hovered above $86 a barrel Friday in Asia as violent protests in the Middle East keep investors on edge about possible crude supply disruptions.

The Nikkei rose narrowly, by 2.55 points, to 10,839.19 after finishing at a fresh 10-month high the previous day.

South Korea's Kospi jumped 1 percent to 1,9967.72, with tech shares among the day's best performers, including Samsung Electronics, up 0.4 percent.

Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also advanced.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 4,935.80. Shares of ANZ Banking Group Ltd., one of Australia's biggest banks, tumbled 3 percent despite reporting a 27 percent rise in first quarter profits. Investors reacted negatively to lackluster lending figures. In all, three of Australia's four major banks saw stock prices drop.

In New York on Thursday, stocks finished higher after a strong manufacturing report overshadowed a bigger-than-expected rise in the number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.97 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,318.14. The Dow has been rising steadily and is up 3.6 percent for the month.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.11, or 0.3 percent, to 1,340.43. The Nasdaq composite rose 6, or 0.2 percent, to 2,831.58.

In currencies, the dollar was unchanged at 83.33 yen. The euro stood at $1.3602 from $1.3604.