TOKYO – Asian shares were mixed Friday as investors awaited a U.S. jobs report later in the day and action from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the month.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3 per cent to 16,589.97 in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 per cent to 1,982.49. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 per cent to 20,911.31, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2 per cent at 2,924.53.
WATCHING THE FED: Investors are watching for clues on whether the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate at the central bank’s next meeting of policymakers later this month. Many will also are waiting for the U.S. Labor Department’s release of its latest monthly jobs report later Friday.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48.89 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 17,838.56. The S&P 500 index added 5.93 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,105.26. The last time it was higher this year was on April 20. The index is now about 1.2 per cent below its all-time high set in May last year. The Nasdaq rose 19.11 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,971.36. That eclipsed its previous high this year on April 18.
OPEC QUESTION: Shares have been hurt recently by the OPEC meeting in Vienna, which ended without any consensus on regulating supplies. That sent crude oil prices lower initially, but they later reversed course.
THE QUOTE: “On the OPEC front, despite all the headlines, there is no production freeze and no subsequent talk of one,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at APAC OANDA.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 1 cent to $49.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 16 cents on Thursday to $49.17 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, edged 4 cents lower to $50.00 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down 108.92 yen from 108.95 yen. The euro fell slightly to $1.1155 from $1.1210.