SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed on Friday as investors awaited a closely watched US employment report due out later.
Mainland stocks were among the biggest losers regionally as the Shanghai Composite fell 1.95% to 3,518.76 during the day while the Shenzhen Component fell 2.448% to 14,670.71. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 1.8% to end the trading day at 28,310.42.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.27% to close at 28,783.28 while the Topix index rose 0.88% to 1,956.31. South Korea’s Kospi ended the trading day little changed at 3,281.78.
Shares in Australia rose as the S & P / ASX 200 rose 0.59% to close at 7,308.60.
MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan fell 0.95%.
Investor focus on Friday was likely on the US Department of Labor’s monthly job report due to be released on Friday. Economists expect the number of non-farm workers to have increased by 706,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate to have fallen from 5.8% to 5.6%, according to the Dow Jones.
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Oil prices are sliding
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.45% to $ 75.50 a barrel. The US crude oil futures West Texas Intermediate lost 0.35% to $ 74.97 a barrel.
U.S. crude oil futures hit their highest level since October 2018 on Thursday, while Brent climbed 2%.
The steps came when a meeting of OPEC and its allies, an energy alliance often called OPEC +, was postponed to Friday. The delay came after the United Arab Emirates objected to a new oil deal, Reuters reported Thursday, citing OPEC + sources.
“Our bullish bias towards crude oil remains,” wrote analysts from OCBC Treasury Research in a statement on Friday. “We expect some form of reduced compromise to be ironed out by now.”
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its competitors, stood at 92.651 after rising below 92.1 earlier this week.
The Japanese yen was trading at 111.46 per dollar, still weaker than the below 110.8 levels seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7457 after falling above $ 0.755 earlier in the trading week.