Asian stocks sink as investors watch for US jobs data

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets sank Friday after Wall Street rose to a high as investors waited for U.S. jobs data for an update on how coronavirus flareups are affecting the biggest global economy.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea retreated. Tokyo was up less than 0.1%.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained after investors were encouraged Thursday by a decline in U.S. unemployment claims. They were watching for Friday’s monthly employment report for an indication of how new disease flareups and renewed anti-disease curbs might be affecting hiring and wages.

“The jobs report will be the key highlight to end the week” amid conflicting market indicators that “put more uncertainty” on whether hiring expectations can be met, said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,444.19 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.4% to 26,093.53. Chinese stocks have been hurt by a spate of anti-monopoly and data security campaigns launched by Beijing against tech companies.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added less than 0.1% to 27,744.24 after Japanese labor cash earnings edged lower in June for the first time in four months.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.3% to 3,265.92 and the ASX-S&P 200 in Sydney was little-changed at 7,510.90. New Zealand declined while Singapore and Indonesia advanced.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,429.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8% to 35,064.25. The Nasdaq climbed 0.8% to 14,895.12.

Tech, retailing and consumer stocks rose. Banks gained as bond yields rose, giving them room to charge more for loans. Health care and materials stocks fell.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported last week’s unemployment claims fell by 14,000, adding to hopes for recovery in the labor market. That followed a weak report from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday showing the private sector added jobs at a slower pace than expected in July.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 8 cents to $69.17 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 94 cents on Thursday to $69.09. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, gained 8 cents to $71.37 per barrel in London. It advanced 91 cents the previous session to $71.29.

The dollar rose to 109.86 yen from Thursday’s 109.76 yen. The euro fell to $1.1824 from $1.1836.