Asia-Pacific stocks little changed as investors look ahead to U.S. jobs report

  • Futures pointed to a mixed start for stocks in Asia-Pacific.
  • The U.S. Labor Department is set to release the closely watched jobs report on Friday stateside.
  • Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 rose to yet another record close as it gained 0.52% to 4,319.94.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were muted in Friday morning trade as investors look ahead to a closely-watched U.S. jobs report set to be released later.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan nudged fractionally higher while the Topix index gained 0.37%. South Korea's Kospi hovered above the flatline.

Shares in Australia also rose as the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.2%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded little changed.

Investor focus on Friday will likely be on the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report, set to be out on Friday. Economists expect nonfarm payrolls grew by 706,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% from 5.8%, according to Dow Jones.

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Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 rose to yet another record close as it gained 0.52% to 4,319.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 131.02 points to 34,633.53 while the Nasdaq Composite edged 0.13% higher to 14,522.38.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.565 after rising from below 92.1 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.58 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 110.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7468 following its slip from above $0.755 earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.26% to $75.64 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.24% to $75.05 per barrel.

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