Asian stock markets fall ahead of latest US jobs reading

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data that could bolster the Federal Reserve’s plans for bigger interest rate hikes to calm the surge in the economy. inflation.

Shanghai advanced while Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul retreated. Oil prices rose more than $1.50 a barrel.

Investors have been waiting for U.S. hiring data in August to see how the economy responds to the previous four hikes to ease inflation, which is at its highest level in four decades. A strong reading would give arguments to Fed officials who say higher interest rates are needed to slow economic activity and reduce upward pressure on consumer prices.

If the numbers show more than 300,000 jobs added, it “could likely further reinforce the trend toward” a rate hike as large as 0.75 percentage points at this month’s Fed meeting, IG’s Yeap Jun Rong said in a report. That would be three times the Fed’s usual variation range.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,187.78 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost less than 0.1% to 26,644.80. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.8% to 19,433.68.

China on Thursday ordered most residents of Chengdu, a city of 21 million, to stay at home following fresh virus outbreaks. The region is recovering from power rationing after a drought that depleted hydroelectric dam reservoirs, but economists said earlier the national economic impact is expected to be limited as the region’s industrial output is small compared to other parts of China.

Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.4% to 2,406.54 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell less than 0.1% to 6,839.60.

India Sensex opened 0.1% lower at 58,741.42. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore and Bangkok fell.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.3% on Thursday to 3,966.85, rebounding from a four-day streak of declines.

The benchmark ended August with a 4.2% loss after surging the previous month on expectations that the Fed could ease rate hikes amid signs of slowing economic activity US and stabilization of inflation.

Those hopes were dashed last week when Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed needed to keep rates high enough “for a while” to slow the economy. The only question for many investors is how much and when the next rise will be.

On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that jobless claims fell last week, another sign of a strong labor market. He said earlier this week that there were two jobs for every unemployed person in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.5% at 31,656.42. The Nasdaq slid 0.3% to 11,785.13 for its fifth daily decline.

Health care stocks, companies dependent on direct consumer spending and communication service providers advanced. Johnson & Johnson rose 2.5%. Target gained 2.8% and Netflix added 2.9%.

Tech stocks fell.

Nvidia fell 7.7% after the chip designer said the US government imposed licensing requirements that could disrupt sales in China.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.42 to $88.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.94 to $86.61 on Thursday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, gained $1.50 to $93.86 a barrel in London. It plunged from $3.28 the previous session to $92.36 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 140.34 yen from 140.23 yen on Thursday. The euro gained 99.72 cents against 99.45 cents.

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