The focus is turning to the U.S. government's October jobs report, which will help show whether hiring remains a key source of strength for an economy that's been weakened by trade wars and a global slowdown.
Analysts have forecast that employers added 90,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6%, still near a 50-year low, according to a survey of forecasts by data provider FactSet.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3% to close at 22,850.77 after a survey of purchasing managers showed factory activity contracting in October. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7% to 27,100.76 and the Shanghai Composite jumped 1.0% to 2,958.20. In South Korea the Kospi climbed 0.8% to 2,100.20. In Australia, the S&P ASX/200 inched up 0.1% to 6,669.10. India's Sensex edged 0.1% lower to 40,097.12.
Market sentiment continues to be affected by reports on the prospects of a trade deal between Washington and Beijing. A Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources, suggested Chinese officials are doubtful that they will be able to reach a comprehensive, long-term trade deal with the U.S.
The world's two biggest economies have wrangled for more than 15 months over U.S. allegations that China steals technology, forces businesses to hand over trade secrets and unfairly subsidizes its technology companies in an aggressive drive to supplant American technological dominance.
They have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's goods in a trade fight that has slowed global economic growth. Negotiators from both countries are trying to settle details of the phase one deal, which sidesteps some of the biggest issues dividing the countries.
"A phase one deal is not really much of a deal at all," Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Benchmark crude oil gained 16 cents to $54.34 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 88 cents on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 4 cents to $59.66 a barrel.
The dollar was steady at 108.00 Japanese yen, while the euro strengthened to $1.1158 from $1.1152 on Thursday.