2 years ago

Asian markets mixed after Wall St gains on jobs data

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Asian stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Street rose as investors analyzed conflicting economic signals ahead of a Federal Reserve conference next week.

Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul declined while Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices edged lower but stayed above $90 per barrel.

Wall Street rebounded after corporate results and fewer unemployment claims than expected suggested the U.S. economy has pockets of resiliency despite repeated interest rate hikes, reports AP.

Investors worry the Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia might derail global economic growth as they hike rates to cool inflation that is running at multi-decade highs.

The latest US data “might keep the door open for aggressive Fed tightening,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1 per cent to 3,274.59 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed less than 0.1 per cent to 28,927.32. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4 per cent to 19,838.10.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.5 per cent to 2,495.03 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost less than 0.1% to 7,110.40.

India's Sensex opened down less than 0.1 per cent at 60,258.81. New Zealand, Bangkok and Singapore retreated while Jakarta gained.

Investors looked ahead to the Fed's annual Jackson Hole conference in Wyoming next week for indications of when and how much the US central bank might raise rates.

Minutes on the Fed's July meeting released this week said inflation still is too high and made clear the central bank will keep raising interest rates.

The Fed has raised interest rates twice this year by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin. Forecasters expect a hike at the board's September meeting, but say pressure for a similarly large increase has declined as economic growth cooled.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent to 4,283.74 after the Labor Department reported fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

 “Initial jobless claims dipped, easing concerns a little bit that the labor market was starting to head in the wrong direction,” said Moya.

That followed data Wednesday that showed July retail sales held steady with the previous month despite concern inflation might depress consumers' willingness to spend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent gain to 33,999.04. The Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent to 12,965.34.

Technology companies gained. Cisco Systems rose 5.8 per cent after reporting solid results.

Energy stocks also climbed as US crude oil prices rose. Devon Energy rose 5.9 per cent.

Department store Kohl’s fell 7.7 per cent after issuing a disappointing financial forecast.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude lost 38 cents to $90.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $2.39 to $90.50 on Thursday. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, shed 41 cents to $96.18 per barrel in London. It jumped $2.94 the previous day to $96.59.

The dollar rose to 136.28 yen from Thursday's 135.91 yen. The euro fell to $1.0078 from $1.0091.

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