Asian Shares Close Higher on US Job Data Release

July 5, 2019

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Friday as investors awaited the U.S. jobs report later in the day for clues about the outlook for interest rates. Trading volumes remained light across the region amid a holiday in the U.S. overnight for Independence Day.

The jobs report could determine if the Federal Reserve cuts rates later this month to shore up the world’s largest economy as trade tensions escalate.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 5.81 points or 0.2 percent to 3,011.06, reversing early losses. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally lower at 28,774.83.

Japanese shares rose in choppy trading on hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 43.93 points or 0.2 percent to 21,746.38, while the broader Topix closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,592.58.

Exporters turned in a mixed performance as the yen held little changed versus the dollar. Honda Motor rose over 1 percent and Advantest climbed 1.8 percent, while Canon slipped 0.3 percent and Panasonic declined half a percent.

Mining and oil shares underperformed as crude oil futures fell more than 1 percent on fears of slowing global growth and data showing a smaller than expected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Seven & I Holdings jumped 3.6 percent after the company said it will compensate some 900 customers using its recently launched 7pay mobile payment service who lost a total of 55 million yen due to unauthorized access to their accounts.

The average of household spending in Japan rose an annual 4.0 percent in May, a government report showed today, coming in at 300,901 yen. That beat expectations for an increase of 1.4 percent.

Australian stocks rose notably, although volumes remained thin amid a holiday in the U.S. on Thursday. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 33.30 points or 0.5 percent to 6,751.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 30.90 points or 0.5 percent at 6,831.80.

Financials and property developers led the surge on expectations the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates further. Banks Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent.

Scentre Group rallied 2 percent and Goodman Group jumped 2.2 percent as the Australian prudential regulator loosened mortgage lending rules.

Mining giant BHP dropped 1.3 percent and Rio Tinto lost 2.1 percent as iron ore prices retreated from a five-year high. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 4.4 percent.

On the economic front, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the construction sector in Australia continued to contract in June, although at a slower rate.

Seoul stocks ended a choppy session largely unchanged amid a lack of positive catalysts. The Kospi inched up 1.86 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 2,110.59.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics shed 0.8 percent after saying it expects its operating profit to tumble 56 percent for the second quarter of this year in the face of a weakening chip market. SK Hynix shares declined 2.6 percent.

Automakers rose, with both Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors rising around 1.8 percent.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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