SYDNEY, Australia - Japan's stock markets made headway on Friday, but the rest of the region languished.
The British pound was in strong demand on the eve of a parliamentary vote on the last-minute deal hatched on an orderly Brexit departure from the EU.
In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 advanced 54.98 points or 0.24% to 22, 506.84.
China's Shanghari Composite shed 17.58 points or 0.59% to 2,959.76.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng let go 24.12 points or 0.09% to 26,824.37.
The Australian All Ordinaries fell 36.00 points or 0.52% to 6,756.50.
The British pound flirted with the 1.2900 level going into European trading, and at last call was quoted at 1.2896.
The euro was solid at 1.1130. The Japanese yen was little changed at 108.69. The Swiss franc eased a touch to 0.9877.
The Canadian dollar inched up to 1.3133. The Australian dollar rose a fraction to 0.6838.
The New Zealand dollar was sharply higher at 0.6372.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.9 points, or 0.09%, at 27,025.88.
The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 8.26 points, or 0.28%, to 2,997.95.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 32.67 points, or 0.4%, to 8,156.85.