Asian shares rise ahead of US employment data
Asian markets rose on Friday in holiday-thinned trade as investors looked ahead to the release of U.S. jobs data later in the day, while Shanghai retreated on profit-taking after a recent rally.
Wall Street provided a positive lead following another round of upbeat U.S. indicators, although the dollar dipped against the yen.
Tokyo rose 0.63 percent, or 122.29 points, to 19,435.08 and Seoul added 0.81 percent, or 16.35 points, to 2,045.42.
Shanghai rose 1.00 percent, or 38.15 points, to 3,863.93, extending a rally that has seen the index surge to seven-year highs over the past month on hopes for fresh monetary easing by China.
Bangkok gained 0.25 percent, or 3.82 points, to 1,536.05, while Kuala Lumpur rose 0.14 percent, or 2.55 points, to 1,834.52.
Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore, Mumbai, Sydney, Wellington, Manila and Taiwan were closed for public holidays.
With few catalysts to drive trade, investors were biding their time until the release in Washington of the U.S. non-farm pay- rolls figures, which will be pored over for clues about the Federal Reserve’s timetable for hiking interest rates.
“We’re likely to be in a waitand-see mode today” before the jobs report and given the holidays, Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
Friday’s report is expected to say the U.S. economy added 245,000 non- farm jobs last month, down from February’s extra 295,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.
On Wall Street the three main indexes advanced after data showed jobless claims fell last week, suggesting more tightening in the labor market, while the trade deficit shrank to a more than five-year low, which analysts said should give a boost to first-quarter economic growth.
The Dow added 0.37 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.35 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.14 percent
While the Fed is expected to raise rates by the end of the year, there is no consensus on exactly when they will do so. The chances of an early summer hike have been dampened by some soft economic figures over the past month, including this week’s weak private-sector jobs figures and easing manufacturing growth.
Oil markets were trade Friday.
Gold fetched US$ 1,200.50 against US$1,203.48 late Thursday.