* Yellen soothes some concerns on U.S. economic outlook
* Rising tension in Ukraine keeps risk appetite in check
* Euro off lows; yen sheds gains made on safe-haven appeal
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Feb 28 Asian stocks were steady on
Friday, tracking gains on Wall Street after U.S. Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen's comments reiterated her confidence in the
Yellen's testimony to a Senate committee helped the S&P 500
shrug off fears of rising tension in Ukraine and Russia
and close at a record high.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
held steady, while Australian shares
were up 0.1 percent.
Yellen said the Fed will continue to determine whether
recently severe winter weather was behind recent signs of
weakness, and reemphasised that it would take a "significant
change" to the economic outlook to sway the Fed from its plans
to taper its quantitative easing (QE).
"Her openness bolstered risk appetite because it assures a
gradual course of tapering by the central bank with the only
risk being a smaller and not larger reduction," BK Asset
Management managing director Kathy Lien said in a note to
"Nonetheless, her comments that QE will end in the fall is
also worth noting because it indicates that for the time being,
the Fed doesn't see anything that would change the current pace
of tapering," Lien added.
An unexpected rise in U.S. durable goods orders, excluding
transportation, also helped distract investors from an
increasingly unstable situation in Ukraine.
Armed men seized the parliament in Ukraine's Crimea region
on Thursday and raised the Russian flag.
Fighter jets along Russia's western borders were on combat
alert, the Defence Ministry was quoted as saying on Thursday by
Interfax news agency.
The unrest prompted investors to seek the safety of U.S.
Treasuries, pushing yields to two-week lows. The yield on the
10-year note was 2.642 percent in Asia, steady from
its U.S. close on Thursday.
The dollar fought its way back against the yen, edging up
about 0.1 percent to 102.17 yen after the Japanese unit's
traditional safe-haven appeal in the face of the Ukraine
developments helped push the greenback to a one-week low of
101.70 yen on Thursday.
The euro was nearly flat on the day at $1.3707,
pulling away from the previous session's two-week low of
It inched up slightly against the yen to 140.05,
stepping away from a more than two-week low of 138.75 yen
touched on Thursday.
In commodities trading, gold prices were flat with spot gold
trading at $1,330.50.
Oil slipped, with Brent crude down about 0.7 percent
at $108.77 a barrel and U.S. oil down 0.3 percent at