Asian stock markets mixed ahead of latest US jobs reading

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BEIJING — Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data that could influence the Federal Reserve’s plans for further interest rate hikes to calm soaring inflation.

Shanghai and Seoul advanced while Tokyo and Hong Kong 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 in August, that “could likely further reinforce the trend” for a rate hike as large as 0.75 percentage points at this month’s Fed meeting- ci,” IG’s Yeap Jun Rong said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,189.09 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.2% to 27,604.37. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.8% to 19,443.49.

The Chinese government on Thursday ordered most residents of Chengdu, a city of 21 million, to stay at home following new virus outbreaks. It has added to disruption as the region recovers from power rationing after a drought that depleted reservoirs at hydroelectric dams, but economists say the nationwide economic impact is expected to be limited.

Seoul’s Kospi rose less than 0.1% to 2,417.25 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell less than 0.1% to 6,844.80. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore fell.

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

It 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 US economic activity 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.

The Labor Department reported on Tuesday that there were two jobs for every unemployed worker in July, giving Fed officials ammunition as they argue for rate hikes. On Thursday, he announced that jobless claims fell last week in another sign of a strong job market.

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 chipmaker said the US government imposed licensing requirements that could disrupt sales in China.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.65 to $88.26 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 $1.64 to $94 a barrel in London. It plunged from $3.28 the previous session to $92.36 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 140.32 yen from 140.23 yen on Thursday. The euro gained 99.60 cents against 99.45 cents.

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