BEIJING – Asian stocks rose Thursday as investors waited for U.S. jobs data that might influence when the Federal Reserve starts to wind down its stimulus.
Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong, which are the bulk of Asian market capitalization, advanced. South Korea and Sydney declined.
Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index added 0.1% on Wednesday, pushed up by gains for tech and communications stocks.
The spread of the coronavirus's delta variant and anti-disease measures have depressed hiring and consumer confidence. But that has reassured some investors the Fed and other central banks might postpone plans to wind down easy credit and other stimulus that has supported stock prices.
The Labor Department on Friday is due to report U.S. employment data for August. A survey Wednesday by payroll processor ADP showed companies added jobs at a slower pace than expected.
“This seems to reduce the chances of significant outperformance in the non-farm payrolls ahead and supports the stance that Fed tapering may not come until at least November,” said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 3,581.94 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained less than 0.1% to 28,476.01. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.8% to 26,239.58.
The Kospi in Seoul sank 1% to 3,176.67 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.8% to 7,464.90.
New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.41 points to 4,524.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to 35,312.53. The Nasdaq climbed 0.3% to a record 15,309.38.
Economists expect that U.S. employers created 750,000 jobs in August, according to FactSet, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.2%.
The Labor Department data could help to give investors a clearer picture of whether the Fed will decide at its September meeting on a timeline for winding down its $120 billion a month in bond purchases that inject money into the financial system.
Investors took comments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last week as reassurance interest rates will stay low for the foreseeable futures, even when the Fed starts to reduce bond purchases.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 44 cents to $68.15 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 9 cents on Wednesday to $68.59. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, fell 36 cents to $71.23 a barrel. It fell 4 cents the previous session to $71.59 a barrel.
The dollar was little-changed at 109.95 yen. The euro declined to $1.1841 from $1.1846.