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Shares in Asia gain ahead of US jobs report

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, file photo, a pedestrian walks past the New York Stock Exchange, in lower Manhattan. World stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, as momentum from Wall Street's rally faded. Investors were watching for economic data and remarks from the Federal Reserve chief to provide direction. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
October 04, 2017 - 8:45 PM

TOKYO - Share prices mostly rose in Asia on Thursday following a day of meagre gains on Wall Street. Investors are awaiting a U.S. government jobs data following a report by payroll processor ADP showing that hiring by private employers weakened sharply last month, partly because of the damage done by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged in and out of negative territory, staying nearly flat at 20,628.69. Australia's S&P ASX 200 added 0.2 per cent to 5,662.90. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Trading in the region was becalmed, with markets in Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korea closed for public holidays.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks inched a bit further into record territory Wednesday after teeter-tottering through the day. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.1 per cent to 2,537.74 and Dow Jones industrial average also gained 0.1 per cent, to 22,661.64. The Nasdaq composite picked up less than 0.1 per cent, to 6,534.63. All three indexes added to records set a day earlier.

U.S. JOBS: The downbeat report by ADP said hiring by private employers weakened sharply last month, a setback for an economy that had been enjoying a generally strengthening job market. Economists are forecasting a weaker number, also, in a more comprehensive jobs report the government is due to release on Friday.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "In the main there is support for risk assets and investor disdain for safe havens," Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary. "Volumes across the Asia-Pacific region are expected to remain subdued as Hong Kong and greater China enjoy autumn holidays," he said.

FEDERAL RESERVE TALK: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday the Fed is committed to ensuring regulations it imposes on the nation's community banks are not overly burdensome. She pointed to a proposed rule to simplify requirements governing how much capital these banks must hold that she said was meant to lighten the burdens on smaller banks.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 8 cents to settle at $49.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 49 cents to $49.98 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 5 cents to $55.85 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.74 yen, little changed from its 112.75 yen level late Wednesday. The euro was steady at $1.1760 and the British pound fell to $1.3240 from $1.3245.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed to this report.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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