Asian stock markets fall ahead of US jobs update

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street’s decline on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data as investors hope to persuade the Federal Reserve to ease plans for an interest rate hike.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Oil prices have fallen.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1% on Thursday after a private sector report said U.S. employers hired slightly more workers than expected in September. That gives ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool the economy and rein in inflation that is at its highest level in four decades.

US government data due out on Friday is expected to show fewer people being hired compared to previous months. Investors hope this will help persuade the Fed that this year’s five rate hikes are working and that it can scale back its plans.

“What the market seems to be crying out for is a Fed pivot,” ING’s Robert Carnell said in a report. “For its part, the Fed is sticking to its ‘higher for longer’ mantra.”

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.7% to 27,116.11 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.3% to 17,780.81.

Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.2% to 2,232.84 while Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 was down 0.8% to 6,762.80.

The Indian Sensex opened 0.6% lower at 57,900.92. Markets in New Zealand and Southeast Asia declined.

The Fed and central banks around the world are focused on extinguishing inflation that is at multi-decade highs, but investors fear their unusually high and rapid pace of rate hikes could tip the global economy into a tailspin. recession.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 3,744.52. The index is up 4.4% for the week after its best two-day rally in 2½ years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1% to 29,926.94. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.7% to 11,073.31.

The yield on US government debt, or the difference between the market price and the payment at maturity, has widened. This indicates that traders expect more rate hikes.

The 10-year Treasury yield, which helps set mortgage rates, rose to 3.81% from 3.75% on Wednesday night. The two-year Treasury yield rose to 4.22% from 4.14% on Monday evening.

Strong U.S. hiring is positive for job seekers, but a sign of lasting economic strength, which could lead the Fed to believe more rate hikes are needed.

US government data showed the number of jobless claims hit a four-month high last week. This suggests that the labor market may be cooling.

Forecasters expect the government to report that the economy added 250,000 jobs last month, well below last year’s monthly average of 487,000, but still a strong figure despite inflation and two consecutive quarters of contraction in the US economy.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 21 cents to $88.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 69 cents on Thursday to $88.45. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, fell 25 cents to $94.17 a barrel in London. It rose $1.05 the previous session to $94.42.

The dollar fell slightly to 145.04 yen from 145.07 yen on Thursday. The euro fell from 97.94 cents to 97.70 cents.

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