United States stocks end in the red

Wall Street ended the nervous Wednesday trading session on red, as the leading indices advanced steadily in anticipation of the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting, but at the end closed on negative teritory.

The short-term target for the March E-mini S&P 500 Index is 2641.75 to 2615.25.

The Fed's preferred measure of inflation has been below its 2% target rate for almost six years but the Labor Department reported earlier this month that underlying consumer prices posted their biggest gain in more than a year in January.

Market participants are still largely expecting the Fed to raise rates three times this year. Some analysts even expect four.

Low productivity growth, caused in part by weak investment, is hampering long-term USA economic growth prospects and should be a critical focus for policymakers, Quarles said.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.9 percent on Friday to add on to the previous week's 3.9 percent gain.

January's meeting, Janet Yellen's last as chair, took place before monthly employment and inflation data showed a rise in price pressures.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.7 percent. Both the indexes benefited from gains in Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

In minutes of the Fed's December meeting, fewer policymakers had expressed such confidence. In an interview with Bloomberg (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-says-us-wages-can-rise-without-boosting-inflation-2018-02-23), Mnuchin brushed aside concerns over rising wages, saying these didn't necessarily have to trigger a rise in overall inflation. If inflation, consumer sentiment, or manufacturing output overshoot the current expectations, there could be four rate increases this year.

Bullard told CNBC on Thursday that central bankers need to be careful not to increase interest rates too quickly this year because that could slow the economy too much.

"Financial market volatility has not dented our constructive view on Asia's growth outlook for this year", said Khoon Goh Singapore-based Head of Research for ANZ.

Wednesday's price action in the indexes and the downside momentum into the close are strong indications that sellers may be taking control of the markets again. S. dollar index which measures the currency against a basket of six major rivals, up 0.1%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 1.25 per cent to 12,528.64. While the Dow and the S&P 500 managed to end the day in positive territory, the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged modestly lower. The common currency has lost more than 0.75 percent so far this week, following its ascent to a three-year top of $1.2556 on February 16.

Despite Fed's hawkish views, bets on the USA short-term interest rate futures continued to reflect expectations of three rate hikes this year, based on a Reuters analysis.

Spot gold slipped 0.3 percent to $1328.05 an ounce.