Asia stocks mixed ahead of US jobs data, BOJ holds fire
Asian stocks were mixed on Friday as investors awaited the release of US jobs data, while the Bank of Japan held fire on a fresh round of stimulus.
Investors are eyeing official U.S. payroll data later Friday for the latest clues about the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike, widely expected by September or December.
Tokyo recovered early losses to cap a second weekly advance, ending 0.29 percent, or 60.12 points, higher at 20,724.56.
Sydney fell sharply, losing 2.41 percent, or 135.5 points, to 5,474.8 as banking shares weighed heavily on the benchmark S&P/ASX200.
Seoul closed 0.15 percent lower, shedding 3.06 points to finish at 2,010.23.
Hong Kong and China shares rebounded after the previous day’s losses, with the Hang Seng Index closing up 0.73 percent, or 177.19 points, at 24,552.47, while Shanghai ended the day 2.26 percent, or 82.66 points, higher at 3,744.20.
Meanwhile shares in Australia’s big four banks tumbled, led by ANZ, whose weaker than expected profits and AU$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) capital-raising program to meet tougher regulatory requirements surprised the market.
ANZ closed 7.49 percent lower at AU$30.14, while shares in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia lost 3.84 percent, Westpac dropped 3.26 percent and National Australia Bank closed down 2.29 percent.
Australia’s financial regulator last month said the nation’s biggest banks had to hold more capital reserves as part of a global move to strengthen the sector after the financial crisis.
In Shanghai, Bloomberg News reported state-backed China Securities Finance Corp. (CSF), tasked with stabilizing the market, is seeking an additional 2.0 trillion yuan ($322 billion), which would bring its support funds to 5.0 trillion yuan.
Stock gains on Friday came ahead of the weekend release of Chinese trade and inflation figures for July, which analysts believe will show weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
Elsewhere, gold was set to post its seventh weekly decline — its worst run in 11 years — ahead of U.S. jobs data Friday that will provide the Federal Reserve with guidance as to whether an interest rate hike is timely.
Higher interest rates limit bullion’s appeal. The yellow metal fetched US$ 1,089.64 an ounce compared with US$1,085.75 late Thursday.
Weak media results led losses on Wall Street on Thursday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.69 percent on worries that increased viewing on smartphones and other gadgets will hammer the cable television business.
European Stock Markets
Down at Open
Europe’s main stock markets were slightly down at the start of trading on Friday as investors await U.S. jobs data later in the day.
In London the benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped 0.15 percent to 6,6737.23 points.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 dropped 0.20 percent to 11,561.37 points and the CAC-40 in Paris lost 0.08 percent compared with Thursday’s close to stand at 5,187.87.
European stock markets ended Thursday lower. However, after losing nearly 20 percent in the previous three days following a five-week closure, Greece’s ATHEX index finished 3.65 percent higher. In other markets: — Mumbai fell 0.22 percent, or 61.74 points to end at 28,236.39 points.
Bharat Heavy Electricals fell 5.81 percent to 265.80 rupees, while utility major Oil & Natural Gas Corporation rose 4.42 percent to 282.30 rupees.
— Kuala Lumpur lost 0.71 percent, or 11.99 points to end 1,682.65.
Maybank fell 1.21 percent to 8.96 ringgit, Telekom Malaysia dropped 0.30 percent to 6.60 while Tenaga Nasional gained 0.18 percent to 11.40 ringgit.
— Jakarta ended down 0.75 percent, or 36.26 points, at 4,770.30.
Telecoms firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia gained 0.85 percent to 2,955 rupiah, while lender Bank Negara Indonesia slipped 3.38 percent to 5,000 rupiah.
— Bangkok dropped 0.13 percent, or 1.79 points, to end at 1,428.79
Bumrungrad Hospital fell 0.48 percent to 207.00 baht, while Kasikorn Bank added 0.28 percent to 176.50 baht.
— In Wellington the NZX-50 was down 1.01 percent, or 60.03 points, at 5,868.66.
Fletcher Building was 2.13 percent off at NZ$7.80 while Contact Energy was 1.34 percent lower at NZ5.15.
— Philippine shares closed 0.76 percent, or 57.43 points, lower at 7,532.52.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone was down 1.57 percent to 2,756 pesos, Universal Robina lost 2.26 percent to 190.60 pesos, while Globe Telecom dipped 0.60 percent to 2,650 pesos.
— Singapore was closed for a public holiday.