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.


Latest Economic News

  • Trump's goal of 'energy dominance' could change the global balance of power

    Economic CBC News
    Fuelled by technological breakthroughs and cuts to taxes and regulation, the United States is on target to become the world's biggest producer of crude oil in the next five years. Let that sink in. The U.S will be bigger than Russia and Saudi Arabia. Source
  • How to avoid spending money on unnecessary oil changes

    Economic CBC News
    Oil changes are by far the most common service performed on vehicles in Canada. Customers pay quick lube facilities, private garages and dealer maintenance centres well over a billion dollars a year for the service. But a CBC investigation finds many of us may be changing our oil far more often than automakers require. Source
  • Trans Mountain protester arrested, one day after court grants injunction

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Burnaby RCMP say they arrested a woman who chained herself to a work truck Friday morning, one day after the B.C. Supreme Court granted Trans Mountain an injunction against demonstrators. Just before 8 a.m. Source
  • Enbridge, TransCanada shares flat after steep dive due to U.S. tax ruling

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Shares in Canadian pipeline companies Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp. failed to recover fully Friday from a steep sell-off on Thursday after the U.S. said it would eliminate a tax break for owners of certain interstate pipelines. Source
  • WestJet union drive helped by unhappiness with pay formula, says flight attendant

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- A WestJet flight attendant says rules that effectively pay starting workers less than minimum wage because they're compensated only for time in the air is helping shore up support for a union drive at Canada's second-largest airline. Source
  • Sask. premier blasts 'mind-boggling' rail backlog of grain shipments

    Economic CTV News
    REGINA -- Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says it's mind-boggling that grain shipments have been delayed again by rail backlogs this year. Moe told the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities on Friday that this is the second time in four years that grain shipments have been delayed. Source
  • Canadian CEO charged with conspiring to sell unhackable phones to criminals

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The United States has arrested the chief executive of Phantom Secure, a Canadian privacy and security firm, alleging the Vancouver-area resident has conspired to provide drug traffickers with modified BlackBerry smartphones to evade law enforcement. Source
  • $1.6B contract one of three awarded for Site C dam in northeastern B.C.

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A $1.6 billion contract has been awarded for construction of the Site C hydroelectric dam in northeastern British Columbia, just three months after the province's NDP government reluctantly allowed the megaproject to continue. Source
  • Canadian dollar sinks to 76.35 cents US — lowest level since June 2017

    Economic CBC News
    The Canadian dollar continued its slide this week to fall to a nine-month low as it headed for its worst week against the U.S. dollar in over a year. The loonie was trading at 76.41 cents US on Friday afternoon, which is its lowest level since June last year and was down over 0.4 per cent from Thursday's average price of 76.73 cents US. Source
  • BMO joins TD in banning customers from buying bitcoin on credit cards

    Economic CBC News
    The Bank of Montreal has stopped allowing customers to use its credit cards to buy cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The bank says it no longer allows retail consumers to buy cryptocurrencies using Mastercard-branded credit or debit cards. Source