Asian Stocks Volatile Ahead of US Jobs Report

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Asian Stocks Volatile Ahead of US Jobs Report

Asian stocks alternated between gains and losses as markets exercised discretion ahead of the US jobs report.

In Hong Kong, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank less than 0.1% to 138.98 at 2:15 pm. The measure extended its winning streak to the seventh straight day, the longest this year, after a private US job report showed better-than-expected improvement in employment in March.

According to a survey of economists by Bloomberg, a non-farm payroll report due today is expected to show that more positions were created last month, with hiring hitting levels last recorded in November.

Asian shares benefited for the second week as markets in Japan recovered from last quarter’s decline and Hong Kong equities got a lease of life from expectations that the Chinese government would inject stimuli into the economy. By yesterday, the regional index had advanced 1.7% as the Hang Seng of Hong Kong surged 2.3%.

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Topix of Japan dropped 0.2%, with Tencent Holdings ltd nursing the biggest fall. Shares of the largest listed firm in Asia stood at HK$524 after sliding 4.1%, approaching the first back-to-back weekly decline since November.

“Tencent has been totally loved. Stocks can’t go up forever. Investors are probably looking at what Tencent’s true valuation is,” said Stuart Beavis of Hong Kong-based Vantage Capital Markets.

Benchmark Nikkei 225 eased a little, with a softer yen backing markets.   

The China-US Equity Index calculated by Bloomberg dropped 1.4% yesterday in New York. Shares of Tarena International Inc added up to 20% in its debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the first Chinese firm to debut in New York in 2014.

The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index of firms in the mainland that trade in Hong Kong surged 0.3%. Shanghai Composite of China added 0.6%.

As Reuters reports, Asia witnessed no major stocks move, there being no significant economic data anticipated across the entire region.

To contact the reporter of this story: Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com