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Asian shares advance ahead of US jobs data

A woman walks past an electronic share price board showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo. - AFP
A woman walks past an electronic share price board showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo. - AFP

CANBERRA/LONDON: Asian stocks rose on Friday as investors awaited an update on the US jobs market later in the day for clues on the pace of monetary policy tightening going ahead.

US employment is expected to increase by 250,000 jobs in July after an addition of 372,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 per cent.

Chinese shares rallied as tech companies jumped on expectations that the China-Taiwan stand-off might increase global chip shortage. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.19 per cent to 3,227.03.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.14 per cent higher at 20,201.94. Alibaba Group Holdings shares fell 2.2 per cent as the e-commerce giant reported flat quarterly revenue growth for the first time since becoming a public company.

Japanese shares rose notably as investors cheered better-than-expected earnings from the likes of Kikkoman Corp and Nippon Steel. Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing added 1.3 per cent after saying it is planning an aggressive growth strategy across North America.

The Nikkei average climbed 0.87 per cent to 28,175.87 - extending gains for a third day and closing above the 28,000 psychological level for the first time in nearly two months. The broader Topix index settled 0.85 per cent higher at 1,947.17.

Seoul stocks extended gains for a third day running on continued foreign buying. The Kospi average gained 0.72 per cent to close at 2,490.80 on expectations that inflation might soon peak.

Samsung Biologics rose 2.3 per cent and Celltrion jumped 4.2 per cent after the US government declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.

Australian markets hit a two-month high as strong gains in the mining sector outweighed weakness in energy stocks.

Afterpay owner Block slumped 6.2 per cent after it reported a slowdown in revenue related to its bitcoin business.

The benchmark S&P ASX 200 inched up 0.58 per cent to 7,015.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended 0.59 per cent higher at 7,250.30.


European stock markets slid on Friday after the Bank of England's gloomy recession warning raised the spectre of stagflation, and as investors awaited critical US payrolls data, dealers said.

London equities retreated 0.2 per cent one day after the BoE unveiled a half-point interest rate hike and forecast UK inflation topping 13 per cent on surging domestic energy bills.

The hike followed more aggressive monetary policy from the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve as authorities crack down on rampant inflation in the wake of Russia's war of Ukraine.

India on Friday lifted borrowing costs for the third time in four months to the highest level since summer 2019.

Back in the euro zone, Frankfurt stocks slipped 0.1 per cent and Paris sank 0.5 per cent, despite modest gains in Asia.

Oil prices held steady, one day after WTI crude fell to the level where it had stood before the Ukraine conflict sent the market soaring.


"The dire warnings from the BoE are impossible to ignore as other central banks desperately try to avoid a similar fate," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

"It seems only a matter of time until others are forced to accept that a recession is the price to pay for getting inflation under control."

He added: "A period of stagflation now awaits the UK -- and others may not be far behind as the crushing impact of energy prices wreaks havoc on living standards and saps demand."

Stagflation is a toxic mixture of stubbornly high consumer prices and low economic growth.

Later on Friday, traders will focus on key US non-farm payrolls (NFP) data that could stoke fears of a prolonged downturn in the world's number one economy.

"Market participants will closely scrutinise today's NFP report for any signs that weakness in activity data in the US economy is starting to spill-over into the labour market with a lag which would heighten (US) recession fears," said MUFG analyst Lee Hardman. - dpa/AFP

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