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Asian Markets Mixed, China and Japan Lead Losses

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed on Friday as investors looked ahead to a closely-watched U.S. jobs report set to be released later.

Mainland Chinese stocks were among the biggest losers regionally as the Shanghai composite fell 1.95% on the day to 3,518.76 while the Shenzhen component dropped 2.448% to close at 14,670.71.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.8% to finish the trading day at 28,310.42

asia markets
Shanghai composite Performance Chart.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan nudged 0.27% higher to close at 28,783.28 while the Topix index gained 0.88% to 1,956.31. South Korea’s Kospi finished the trading day little changed at 3,281.78.

Shares in Australia rose as the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.59% to close at 7,308.60.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.95%.

Investor focus on Friday was likely on the U.S. Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, set to be out on Friday. Economists expect nonfarm payrolls to grow by 706,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% from 5.8%, according to Dow Jones.

Asian Markets Currencies and Oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.651 after rising from below 92.1 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.46 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 110.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7457 following its slip from above $0.755 earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.45% to $75.50 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures shed 0.35% to $74.97 per barrel.

U.S. crude futures on Thursday hit their highest level since October 2018, while Brent jumped 2%.

The moves came as a meeting among OPEC and its allies, and energy alliance often called OPEC+, which was delayed to Friday. The delay came after the United Arab Emirates objected to a new oil deal.