Asian stocks listless ahead of U.S. jobs report

HONG KONG - Asian stock markets were uneven on Friday as investors awaited U.S. job numbers that could influence how far the Fed raises interest rates this year.

See Full Article

Japanese shares sagged on the strengthening yen.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.5 per cent to 16,791.56 as the dollar weakened against the yen, hurting shares of the country's export producers. South Korea's Kospi was flat at 1,916.16, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.4 per cent to 19,262.40 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.3 per cent to 2,770.44. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 per cent to 4,936.70. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia rose. Trading volumes in Asia will be muted as many exchanges shut for all or part of the Lunar New Year holiday next week.

JANUARY JOBS: All eyes are on the U.S. government's employment report for last month, which will be released later Friday after Asian markets have closed. Analysts expect a solid 200,000 jobs to be added, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5 per cent. However, weaker than expected figures would add to other downbeat economic data that's been piling up in recent days, including contracting U.S. and Chinese factory activity and a disappointing U.S. service sector index. Taken together, it could all be used to support the case for the Fed putting off further interest rate hikes, a prospect that's already helped push down the dollar.

ANALYST VIEW: "Concerns around global growth, particularly about China and the U.S., are likely to linger so it remains premature to say we have seen the low for shares," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, said in a report. "In particular, a weaker U.S. dollar will be of no help if it's due to a slumping U.S. economy."

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks closed modestly higher on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 per cent to 16,416.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.2 per cent to 1,915.45 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 per cent to 4,509.56.

ENERGY: Oil futures were steady after the wild swings of recent days. Benchmark U.S. crude was flat at $31.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, added 15 cents to $34.51 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 116.82 yen from 116.96 yen in the previous day's trading, bringing its loss for the week to 3.6 per cent. The euro eased to $1.1194 from $1.1199, its highest in more than three months.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Empire posts lower Q4 adjusted earnings amid turnaround of Sobeys grocery unit

    Economic CTV News
    STELLARTON, N.S. -- The parent of Sobeys is reporting a decline in adjusted earnings for the first full quarter since it installed a new chief executive with a mandate to revive the national grocery business. Source
  • 'Straight-out con': Calgary man gets five years for defrauding his own company

    Economic CTV News
    A co-founder of a Calgary oil and gas company was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud for stealing close to $5 million from the company. Ian Wilson Fisher, 54, admitted to defrauding Arcan Resources, a company he launched with his brother and another man, by creating shell companies and dozens of false invoices. Source
  • China frees 3 activists who probed Ivanka Trump supplier

    Economic CTV News
    GANZHOU, China -- Chinese authorities have released on bail three activists who had been detained after investigating labour conditions at a factory that produced shoes for Ivanka Trump and other brands. The three activists walked out of a police station in Ganzhou, a city in southeastern Jiangxi province, on Wednesday, the final day of their legally mandated 30-day detention period limit. Source
  • Sugar Mobile not quite dead yet, as analysts dream of more wireless competition

    Economic CBC News
    Sugar Mobile, the small startup provider offering wireless plans for as little as $19 a month that was effectively given a death sentence by the CRTC, is not quite dead yet. And the fact that it still exists — even on life-support and as a shell of its former self — should give hope to Canadians desperate for more competition in the country's wireless sector, according to industry analysts. Source
  • Stocks drop after global share sell-off hits after Wall Street, Europe losses

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG - A global stock market sell-off pulled shares lower in Asia on Wednesday as investors grew cautious following losses on Wall Street sparked by a delayed health care vote. Sentiment was dented in Europe by speculation that European Central Bank stimulus may be wound down if conditions improve. Source
  • Canada's big banks admit they overcharged customers — what went wrong?

    Economic CBC News
    On Tuesday, Royal Bank was the last of Canada's five big banks to get slapped with a multi-million dollar penalty for charging customers excess fees for investment products like mutual funds. In some cases, clients were unknowingly overcharged for more than a decade. Source
  • Competition Bureau of Canada gives $4.4B Couche-Tard deal green light

    Economic CTV News
    LAVAL, Que. -- The Competition Bureau of Canada is giving the green light to Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX.ATD.B) to purchase its American fuel and convenience store rival CST Brands Inc., provided the company sell some of CST's Canadian assets to Parkland. Source
  • Ivanka Trump shoes factory has long hours, low pay and abuse

    Economic CTV News
    GANZHOU, China -- A worker with blood dripping from his head marked a low point in the tense, grinding life at a southeastern China factory used by Ivanka Trump and other fashion brands. An angry manager had hit him with the sharp end of a high-heeled shoe. Source
  • Facebook hits 2 billion users, doubling in size since 2012

    Economic CBC News
    Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world's largest social media network. Source
  • Royal Bank to repay investors $21.8M for mistakenly charged investment fees

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) has agreed to a deal with Ontario's securities watchdog to repay $21.8 million to clients who were mistakenly charged some investment fees. The Ontario Securities Commission approved Tuesday the no-contest settlement agreement with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Source