Asia-Pacific shares were mixed on Friday as investors look ahead to the U.S. jobs report for August, a key indicator before the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate decision later this month.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.28%, while in South Korea, the KOSPI gained 0.16%. South Korea’s CPI rose slower than expected - 5.7% in August from the same period a year ago, data showed Friday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were mostly unchanged, traded flat from opening.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index eased 0.62%, and the FTSE Straits Times Index in Singapore slipped 0.41%.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.46%, to 31,656.42, the S&P 500 gained 0.30%, to 3,966.85, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.26%, to 11,785.13.
Oil prices climbed on Friday. Bets that OPEC+ will discuss output cuts at a meeting next week supported the prices, though benchmarks were on track for a steep weekly decline as fears of China's COVID-19 curbs and weak global growth weighed on the market.
Brent crude futures rose 2.03% to $94.04 a barrel on Friday while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 2.26% to $88.31 a barrel.
Both benchmark contracts slid 3% in the previous session to two-week lows. Brent was headed for a weekly drop of nearly 7%, and WTI was on track to fall about 5% for the week.
The dollar index was steady on Friday, at 109.548 as it stood near its two-decade top at 109.99. The U.S. dollar hit a fresh record high on safe haven flows due to global economic weakness and as the country’s resilient economy paves the way for the Fed to remain aggressive in its rate hikes. The index is on track for a third straight weekly rise.
Treasury yields eased slightly ahead of potentially strong payrolls data. The yield on benchmark two-year notes hovered at 3.5117%, a touch lower than its 15-year high of 3.551% overnight, while the yield on 10-year bonds stood at 3.263%, compared with its previous close of 3.2650%.
Gold was slightly higher ahead of a key U.S. labour report, but the metal faces a third consecutive weekly loss on bets that the Fed will retain its aggressive rate-hike stance.
Spot gold rose 0.06% to $1,699.20 per ounce, though headed for 2% for the week so far. U.S. gold futures were up by the same margin, at $1,709.60.
Spot silver and platinum were flat at $17.84 and $828 per ounce, respectively. Palladium rose 1.1% to $2,035.69. All were also headed for a third consecutive weekly fall.
Markets were mixed as persistent worries about rising global interest rates and recessions hounded stocks, bonds, and oil prices, and vaulted the U.S. dollar to a 24-year high against the yen. Investors braced for more aggressive rate hikes from major central banks, while remain worried about the impact of the latest COVID-19 curbs in China.
On Thursday, the southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chengdu announced a lockdown of its 21.2 million residents, while the technology hub of Shenzhen also rolled out new social distancing rules as more Chinese cities tried to battle recurring COVID-19 outbreaks.
While U.S. manufacturing grew steadily last month, factory activity in China, the Eurozone and Britain fell. Major central banks are expected to continue with aggressive monetary policy tightening to rein in sky-high inflation but is also fanning fears of an economic slowdown.
All eyes are now on U.S. August nonfarm payroll data due on Friday. Analysts expect 285,000 jobs were added last month, while unemployment hovered at 3.5%. Investors may not like a strong number if it supports a continuation of aggressive rate hikes from the Fed, which could further boost the dollar and spur a sell-off in bonds.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a two-month low last week, while layoffs dropped in August, suggesting the central bank might need to continue aggressively raising rates.