Asian Shares Climb Ahead Of US Jobs Data

Asian stocks rose broadly on Friday amid optimism surrounding China’s reopening and expectations of more stimulus to support domestic demand.

Data showing continued strength in the U.S. labor market added to economic optimism but fed fears of more policy tightening.

Investors awaited key U.S. jobs data later in the day for additional clues on the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike stance.

China’s Shanghai Composite index fluctuated before finishing marginally higher at 3,157.64 on hopes for normalization in economic activity after authorities said that the first wave of infections has hit a peak in cities including Beijing and Tianjin.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended down 0.29 percent at 20,991.64, giving up earlier gains as Ni Hong, head of China’s housing regulator, vowed to give strong support to first-time homebuyers.

Japanese shares finished notably higher as the yen continued its retreat from a seven-month peak for a fourth straight day. Encouraging data on the country’s service sector also boosted sentiment.

The Nikkei average climbed 0.59 percent to 25,973.85 while the broader Topix index closed 0.37 percent higher at 1,875.76, led by exporters, drug makers, shipping firms and technology stocks.

Honda Motor, Sony, Tokyo Electron, Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK lines and Daiichi Sankyo jumped 2-4 percent.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains, with chip-related stocks, battery makers and financials leading the surge. The Kospi average jumped 1.12 percent to 2,289.97.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.4 percent despite reporting the lowest quarterly operating profit estimate in eight years.

Australian markets advanced as miners rallied after top steel producer China announced reopening of its border with Hong Kong. Heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto rose 2-3 percent. Energy stocks also gained ground as oil prices rebounded from two days of losses.

Magellan Financial Group plummeted 10.5 percent after it reported a decline in assets under management.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.65 percent to 7,109.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 0.68 percent higher at 7,308.80.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 index slipped 0.22 percent to 11,625.97.

U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight, as strong ADP private payrolls data and weekly jobless claims figures provided further evidence of a tight labor market and dashed hopes for a change to aggressive Fed policy anytime soon.

Adding to concerns about the economic outlook, Fed members Esther George and James Bullard said that interest rates will stay higher for longer to tame inflation.

The Dow lost 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 declined 1.2 percent.

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