Most Asian Stocks Gain As Investors Look To US Payrolls
- Asian stocks managed gains on Friday, although focus was squarely on the US
- Crucial employment data will be released later
- South Korean assets were steady as Seoul Court Upheld the Presidents’ impeachment
Friday’s Asian session was predictably all about the wait for official US labor statistics later in the global day.
While these numbers always draw a crowd, this month’s batch is special. Recent commentary from Federal Reserve officials has investors all but sure that US rates will rise next week, barring a significant data shock. As the most crucial economic number due for release between now and Thursday’s monetary policy decision, the labor stats are increasingly seen as the last hurdle to a rate rise.
Forecasters expect a rise of about 200,000 non-farm jobs in February. That, or anything like it, should see a rate rise priced as near certainty.
Asian stocks rose broadly as the Dollar ran higher, again as markets scented higher US rates. The Nikkei was up, 1.5% as USD/JPY posted new session highs into the Tokyo close. In Australia the ASX added 0.6%/
South Korean stocks also gained despite news that Seoul’s constitutional court had upheld a ruling made last year to impeach President Park Geun-hye. The ruling caused clashes between her opponents and supporters, which have reportedly led to deaths.
Regional economic news was moderate, and failed to make much impact. Japanese business sentiment was less optimistic in the year’s first quarter but still broadly positive.
Gold prices slipped below $1,200/ounce with the oldest haven of all on track for its worst week in four months. Higher US yields tend to bode ill for non-yielding gold. Crude oil prices edged back up having slipped under $50 on Friday on worries that excess global supply is proving resilient to output cuts.
The rest of the session will offer plenty of economic numbers, including German and UK trade data, and employment numbers out of Canada. However, with respect to all of those, the day will belong to the US non-farm payroll release which is coming up at 1330GMT.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX
DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.