Asian stocks ended the week mixed ahead of the all-important US non-farm payrolls report.
The report, released this afternoon, is expected to show the US added 195,000 jobs in December, compared to 203,000 in November, according to the consensus forecast.
The projected increase would bring the gain in 2013 to 2.27m, the most since 2005.
"As always, this is probably the most important economic release of the month," according to Alpari Market Analyst, Craig Erlam.
"This is particularly true at a time when the Fed's monetary policy is such an important driver in the markets as the central bank follows and analyses this release very closely."
The Federal Reserve, which holds its next policy meeting at the end of the month, is currently weighing whether to introduce a further reduction to monetary stimulus after announcing it would cut monthly bond purchases by $10bn to $75bn in December.
The unemployment rate for December will also be released today and is projected to hold at 7% following the drop from 7.3% in November.
Meanwhile, China has claimed it is "very likely" it overtook the US as the world's biggest trader, trading $4.16trn of exports and imports for 2013. The US is yet to release its full-year figures, but its trade for the first 11 months of 2013 totalled $3.5tn.
Exports in China rose 4.3% in December from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said today in Beijing. Economists had expected a 5% rise. Imports increased 8.3% (consensus: 5%) leaving a narrower-than-projected trade surplus of $25.64bn.
Hong Kong's Heng Seng index ended up 0.26%, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.71%.
Japan's Nikkei suffered its worst weekly loss since October 25th at 15912.06, despite finishing up 0.20%. The benchmark index was down 2.3% this week after surging 57% last year to its best annual rise since 1972, driven by Japan's massive fiscal and monetary stimulus campaign.
In company news, jewellery retailer Luk FooK Holdings declined in Hong Kong after Credit Suisse cut its rating to 'underperform' from 'neutral'.
Mitsubishi Materials, which processes metals, slumped in Japan after the company said it plans to halt operations of its Yokkaichi plant after an explosion yesterday killed five people.
Renewable-energy company Hanergy Solar Group was up in Hong Kong after saying it will issue 500m new shares
at 0.82 Hong Kong cents each to Guangdong Southern Baota Investment Holding for working capital and future investment.
Dainippon Sumitomo surged in Japan as its New York-based partner, Intercept, said the drug to treat liver disease worked well enough for the clinical trial to end.