SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks battled for direction in Friday morning trading as investors await the release of a closely watched US employment report.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.21% while the Topix index was below the flat line. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.15%.

The S & P / ASX 200 in Australia lost about 0.1%.

MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan was unchanged.

Investors will expect the Reserve Bank of India’s rate decision at 12:30 PM HK / SIN today.

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US job report ahead

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street rose 271.58 points to 35,064.25 while the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,429.10. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.78% to 14,895.12.

Those gains came in the US after weekly jobless claims data released Thursday came in line with expectations. The closely watched US jobs report for July is expected to be released Friday morning in the US, with a wide range of estimates from economists on what the report will reveal.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its peers, came in at 92.263, still above levels below 92 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen was trading at 109.78 per dollar, below the 109.2 levels seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was trading at $ 0.7402 after rising from around $ 0.738 yesterday.

Oil prices were lower on the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.15% to $ 71.18 a barrel. US crude oil futures lost about 0.1% to $ 69.04 a barrel.