Asia-Pacific stocks rise ahead of U.S. jobs report

Asia-Pacific stocks rose on Friday as investors awaited the release of the U.S. jobs report for September, which could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s next move for interest rates. The report is expected to show a slowdown in hiring amid the Delta variant surge and supply chain disruptions.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.13% higher in its first hour of trade, led by gains in the energy and materials sectors. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1% to close at 31,075.36, supported by positive earnings results from some major companies. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.4% to 17,449.42, as property and technology stocks rebounded from recent losses.

Asia-Pacific stocks rise ahead of U.S. jobs report
Asia-Pacific stocks rise ahead of U.S. jobs report

China’s markets remained closed for the weeklong holiday and will reopen on Monday.

Oil prices extend gains amid supply concerns

Oil prices extended their gains in afternoon trade, rising more than 2% each, as supply concerns outweighed demand worries. U.S. crude futures rose 2.3% to $80.47 a barrel, while Brent crude futures climbed 2.4% to $83.65 a barrel.

The rally was driven by a drop in U.S. crude inventories, a decline in OPEC output, and a strike at Norway’s oil and gas fields that threatened to cut production by up to 25%. Analysts said the market was also pricing in the risk of further supply disruptions from Iran, Libya, and Nigeria.

U.S. stocks end slightly lower ahead of jobs data

U.S. stocks ended slightly lower on Thursday as investors awaited the key jobs data that could set the tone for the Fed’s tapering timeline. The Fed has signaled that it could start reducing its monthly bond purchases as soon as November if the labor market recovery continues.

Economists predict that 318,000 jobs were added in August, fewer than the 528,000 jobs added in July, according to Dow Jones. Unemployment is forecast to be unchanged at 3.5%.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 4,258.19, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down less than 0.1% to 33,119.57. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.1%, to 13,219.83.

The market sentiment was also dampened by a rise in Treasury yields, which hit their highest levels since June, as investors anticipated higher inflation and interest rates.

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