Global markets advance in subdued trading on US jobs worries

AP , Friday 6 Oct 2023

Global shares mostly rose Friday in cautious trading ahead of an update on the U.S. jobs market.

Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarte
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. AP

 

Tokyo was the only major market to decline, with other benchmarks moderately higher. U.S. futures and oil prices were little changed.

Markets in China were closed for a holiday. They will reopen on Monday.

Investors were awaiting a potentially impactful and comprehensive report on U.S. employment later in the day.

France's CAC 40 added 0.3% to 7,020.18 in early trading, while Germany's DAX rose 0.5% to 15,143.44. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.2% to 7,468.90. The futures for the Dow and S&P 500 were virtually unchanged.

In Asian trading, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% to finish at 30,994.67. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4% to 6,954.20. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2% to 2,408.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.6% to 17,485.98.

Shares in Hong Kong jumped on strong buying of property and technology stocks that have seen sharp losses in recent trading sessions. However, troubled property developer China Evergrande's shares were down 1.6%.

A comprehensive report on U.S. employment is due Friday. Economists expect it to show hiring slowed to a pace of 163,000 jobs added in September from 187,000 in August.

Investors worry that too strong a U.S. job market could add to upward pressure on inflation. That’s why the Fed has raised its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001, to intentionally slow the economy.

“The sentiment of unease prevails as the market awaits the release of the U.S. employment report later today,” said Anderson Alves at ActivTrades.

Market attention also remains on oil prices, which have fluctuated recently and will have major effects on how central banks act on interest rates.

A recent pullback in the price of oil has offered some relief on the inflation front for both U.S. households and the Federal Reserve.

On Thursday, Wall Street drifted to a quiet close on worries over inflation and interest rates. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.1%.

Stocks have struggled since the summer under the weight of soaring Treasury yields in the bond market, which undercut stock prices and crimp corporate profits. Yields have leaped as traders acquiesce to a new normal where the Federal Reserve is likely to keep its main interest rate at a high level for a long time, as it tries to extinguish high inflation.

U.S. benchmark crude gained 26 cents to $82.57 a barrel. On Thursday, it fell $1.91 to settle at $82.31, a day after tumbling more than $5 for its worst drop in more than a year.

After surging from $70 in the summer to more than $93 last week, the price of a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude has slumped sharply. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 18 cents to $84.25 per barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 148.92 Japanese yen from 148.49 yen. The euro cost $1.0552, inching down from $1.0553.

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