Asian stocks rise faster than US job data –

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Friday in anticipation of an update on the US job market, as the Federal Reserve considers whether more rate hikes are needed to cool rising inflation.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney made progress. US futures and oil prices rose higher.

Investors looked to monthly US employment data for possible signs of weakness that could prompt the Fed to decide it needs to taper rate hikes to cool inflation. Other data suggests the economy is slowing, which should ease price pressures.

“Particular focus will likely be on the resilience of job growth” following a surge in jobless claims, ActivTrades’ Anderson Alves said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to 3,198.11, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose less than 0.1% to 20,192.36.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.8% to 28,143.55, after labor income rose 2.2% in June from a year ago, although forecasters warned that strength is unlikely to continue. Semi-annual bonuses are paid in June.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.9% to 2,494.65 and the S&P ASX 200 in Sydney rose 0.4% to 7,003.00.

The Indian Sensex rose 0.5% to 58,568.12. The Reserve Bank of India raised its benchmark rate by half a percentage point to 5.4% on Friday.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das predicted inflation would reach 6.7% in the fiscal year ending in March, and the economy would grow at an annual rate of 7.2%.

New Zealand fell while Southeast Asian markets rose.

Jakarta rose 0.2% after the Indonesian economy grew stronger than expected in the last quarter by 5.4% compared to a year earlier.

Investors worry that rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to curb inflation, which has been at the highest level for decades, could derail economic growth.

The Fed has increased its benchmark by 0.75 percentage points twice this year, three times the usual margin and the largest increases since the early 1990s.

Fed officials have tried to allay fears that the United States might slip into recession by pointing to a strong labor market as evidence that the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.

The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits last week rose a modest 6,000 from the previous week to 260,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial job applications generally reflect layoffs, but forecasters still see the job market as one of the strongest parts of the economy.

Data earlier this week indicated that the number of new job openings advertised in the US fell but was still close to record highs.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.1% lower on Thursday as investors digested corporate earnings reports and waited for jobs data.

The S&P 500 fell to 4,151.94 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 32,726.82. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4% to 12,720.58 points.

In the energy markets, the US benchmark crude gained 42 cents to $88.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.12 to $88.54 in the previous session. Brent oil, the price base for international trade, rose 27 cents to $94.39 a barrel. It fell $2.66 the previous session to $94.12.

The dollar gained from 132.91 yen on Thursday to 133.45 yen. The euro fell from $1.0249 to $1.0230.

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