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Asia stocks inch higher ahead of US payrolls data

Goods in Asia edged higher in Friday afternoon trade ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data for November expected to be released later in the day stateside.

Mainland Chinese beasts were higher by the afternoon, with the Shenzhen component adding 0.29% and the Shenzhen composite also advancing 0.293%. The Shanghai composite was in general flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.69% as shares of Chinese tech juggernauts Alibaba and Tencent both benefited more than 1% each.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.25% in afternoon trade while the Topix token was flat. Data released Friday showed October household expenditure in Japan dropping 5.1% year-on-year in actual terms, following a sales tax hike that took place in that month.

In South Korea, the Kospi go on increased 0.86% as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix both jumped at least 2% each.

In the intervening time, shares in Australia edged higher, as the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.26%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.42% extravagant.

Overnight stateside, stocks ended the session on Wall Street little changed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained valid 28.01 points to 27,677.79 while the S&P 500 added 0.16% to 3,117.43. The Nasdaq Composite gained less than 0.1% to 8,570.70.

Investors wishes await the release of the U.S. governments monthly nonfarm payrolls report expected at 9:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Friday. That would do following a disappointing private payrolls number released Wednesday, and also on the back of the Labor Department saying Thursday that U.S. weekly jobless requires dropped 203,000 last week — the lowest in seven months.

“With the (U.S. Federal Reserve) pretty much take exhausted its “insurance cuts” and markets almost unanimously expecting the Fed to be on a purposeful pause, it is safe to say that US non-farm payroll desire be relegated to the backseat,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note.

“Instead, the mania will be with tariff rollback!,” Varathan said. “Specifically, whether or not White House trade middlemen will relent to offer China tariff rollback, which appears to have been established as Beijing’s essential to strike a “Phase-1″ trade deal.”

Markets have seen a rocky start to December amid conflicting headlines on the U.S.-China deal front ahead of a closely watched date of Dec. 15 when additional tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. go into power.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Washington and Beijing are still in disagreement over the size of China’s agriculture wins. Meanwhile, China has given little indication on how negotiations with the U.S. are progressing. Earlier in the week, markets were sent into a turmoil after U.S. President Donald Trump said he may delay a trade deal with China till after the 2020 U.S. presidential voting.

“I think the markets are taking consolation that at least this is not escalating and trade talks have not broken down, talks are yet going on and there’s still hope,” Vasu Menon, executive director of investment strategy at Singapore’s OCBC Bank, differentiated CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday.

Still, Menon acknowledged that “clearly there’re disagreements” between the two trade powerhouses, be it the U.S. demands for China to purchase more U.S. agricultural products or Beijing’s desire to see Washington roll back taxes.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.372 after disappearing from levels above 98.0 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.67 per dollar after reinforcing from levels above 108.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6841 after rising from points below $0.678 earlier in the week.

Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent brusque futures down 0.36% to $63.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.29% to $58.26 per barrel.

What’s on tap:

  • U.S.: Nonfarm payrolls cover for November at 9:30 p.m. HK/SIN

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