Asian Shares Mixed As Investors Await U.S. Jobs Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors awaited U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due later in the day for additional clues to the economic and interest rate outlook.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields pulled back a little, the dollar was on track to post its 12th weekly gain and gold edged up from seven-month lows, while Brent crude prices extended two days of steep losses on demand worries.

Hong Kong markets led regional gains ahead of the reopening of Chinese markets next week after the Golden week holiday. The Hang Seng Index rebounded from a 11-month low to settle 1.6 percent higher at 17,485.98.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly lower after data showed Japanese household spending in August fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier, declining for the sixth consecutive month.

The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 30,994.67, while the broader Topix Index closed little changed with a positive bias at 2,264.08.

The yen stabilized near USD/JPY 148 level after testing the 150 barrier earlier this week. Heavyweight chip-related stocks fell, with Advantest and Tokyo Electron falling around 2 percent each.

Onward Holdings slumped 5.2 percent despite the apparel group raised its annual profit forecast.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains, with the Kospi rising 0.2 percent to 2,408.73 as foreign investors continued their selling streak for the 11th consecutive day.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell over 1 percent, while auto and financial stocks closed broadly higher. Kia Corp., KB Financial Group and Shinhan Financial Group jumped 2-4 percent.

Australian markets advanced as gains in the financial sector offset losses among gold miners and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 6,954.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index finished 0.4 percent higher at 7,143.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index ended down 0.2 percent at 11,287.03.

U.S. stocks ended marginally lower overnight as investors awaited the September employment report for clues on the economic and rate outlook.

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