Data on inflation in Tokyo for November beat analysts' expectations, with the core consumer price index showing a 3.6% rise, the highest in more than four decades.
The Federal Reserve and the world's other central banks have been raising interest rates to try to rein in decades-high inflation. But the Bank of Japan has resisted tightening monetary policy, a move that would counter inflationary pressures by discouraging borrowing by businesses and consumers.
“With the Bank of Japan being one of the few outliers which has not embarked on a rate-hiking process, the point of pivot will be a key question into next year," Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.
Shares finished higher Thursday in France, Germany and Britain. U.S. markets were closed for Thanksgiving. Wall Street will have a shortened session on Friday.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 46 cents to $78.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up $3.01 to $77.94 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 29 cents to $85.55 a barrel in London.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 138.64 Japanese yen from 138.58 yen. The euro cost $1.0410, inching down from $1.0411.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama