Asian stock markets fall ahead of latest US jobs reading

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Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street after a strong jobs report last month that isn’t too high either. The government signaled that hiring slowed last month, which is exactly what policymakers want to happen in order to calm inflation. The addition of 315,000 jobs was also in line with forecasters’ expectations, a happy lack of surprises that investors found reassuring. The S&P 500 was up just over half a percent at the start of Friday, but is still heading for its third straight weekly loss.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street swung between small gains and small losses on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data that could bolster the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans for further interest rate hikes aimed at to calm inflation.

Dow Jones Industrials futures and the S&P 500 were each down less than 0.1% before the bell.

Investors had been waiting for the August hiring numbers for an update on how the economy is responding to the previous four hikes to calm inflation that 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 more than the projected 300,000 jobs were added, it “could likely further strengthen the trend toward” a rate hike as large as 0.75 percentage points at this month’s Fed meeting, Yeap said. IG’s Jun Rong in a report. That would be three times the Fed’s usual variation range.

By noon, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6% and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 1.3%. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.5%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3%, 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 ended up 0.5% on Thursday, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.3%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index added less than 0.1% to 3,186.48 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost less than 0.1% to 27,650.84. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.7% to 19,452.09.

China on Thursday ordered most residents of Chengdu, a western city of 21 million, to stay at home following an outbreak of the virus. 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 accounts for only a small portion of China’s total.

The Kospi in Seoul fell 0.3% to 2,409.41 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.3% to 6,828.70.

The Indian Sensex fell 0.5% to 59,032.82. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore and Bangkok fell.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.47 to $88.08 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 $1.43 to $93.79 a barrel in London. It plunged from $3.28 the previous session to $92.36 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 140.44 yen from 140.23 yen on Thursday. The euro fell from 99.45 cents to 1 dollar.

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