Asian markets buck US losses, post gains

Asian markets buck US losses, post gains

Tokyo stocks crept higher Friday morning
Tokyo stocks crept higher Friday morning. Photo: Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP
Source: AFP

Asian markets posted gains in early trade Friday, shrugging off Wall Street losses ahead of key US jobs data.

Analysts say signs of a robust American economy, such as strong labour market data this week, are bad news for equities as it gives the Federal Reserve more reason to keep monetary policy tight through to the end of the year and beyond.

US Treasury yields hit their highest levels since 2007 this week as investors fear that high borrowing costs for businesses and consumers will eventually drag on the economy.

All eyes are on Friday's monthly US employment data, which will give investors a good idea of whether recent signs of a softening in the labour market will continue.

"Stock investors are not playing" with the drop in 10-year US yields, and "worries about a hot Non-Farm Payroll are upping the uncertainty index", Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said.

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On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished flat, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq index ticked lower.

But Hong Kong started Friday on the front foot, with early gains of just over 1.5 percent, while Tokyo crept higher.

Singapore, Seoul and Mumbai were also up, while mainland Chinese markets were closed for a week-long holiday.

"If there's any signs of the labour market cracking then that would obviously be positive and maybe could send stocks a little bit higher," Peter Cardillo from Spartan Capital told AFP.

"The markets sell-off which saw government bond prices fall and yields rise has taken centre stage this week, and investors continue to watch the 10-year Treasury yield like a hawk," said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

Key figures around 0200 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.07 percent at 31,097.51

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Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.59 percent at 17,487.15

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0541 from $1.0553 on Thursday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2180 from $1.2192

Euro/pound: UP at 86.54 pence from 86.53 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 148.55 yen from 148.50 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.48 percent at $84.47 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.56 percent at $82.77 per barrel

New York - Dow: FLAT at 33,119.57 points (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,451.54 (close)

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Source: AFP

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