Asian stocks closed higher on Friday after a relatively quiet trading session following gains on Wall Street as investors focused on Friday’s non-farm payrolls report and the preliminary accord on Iran’s nuclear program.
Frontier markets that have so far this year been lagging the Asian superpower markets led gains on a quiet day marked with low volumes with most of the major indexes in the US and Europe remaining closed through to Monday.
Tokyo’s Nikkei Index advanced 0.6% to 19,435.20 to gain 0.8% on the week while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.5% to a fresh seven year high of 3,843.89.
The Shanghai Composite, China’s benchmark index, had gained more than 4.7% this week bolstered by the expectations of prolonged monetary easing following dovish remarks by the country’s central bank.
China’s market rally is, however, increasingly expected to cool after Chinese securities sanctioned 30 IPOs on Thursday.
There were also gains in smaller markets with the benchmark Pakistan KSE 100 rising 1.7% to complete its rebound from a low at the end of March.
Volumes traded on Friday were expectedly low with investors awaiting the US nonfarm payrolls report due later Friday. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal forecasted 248,000 gain in non-farm payrolls in March.
US Stocks are not expected to react to the report until Monday as the markets there are closed for Good Friday.
“We’ll probably see the headline number coming in around 220,000 and unemployment rate tick up [amid] a slow migration of people back into the labor force.” Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Advantage Funds, told CNBC News.
“The key thing to watch is the weekly earnings number, which won’t be advancing faster than 2.2-2.3 percent year-on-year. That’s good enough the keep this economy moving along, but not fast enough to spook the Fed.”
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