World Economy

Asian Shares Slide as Investors Await US Employment Report

Oil extended losses on Friday in Asian deals after losing as much as 5% overnight.Oil extended losses on Friday in Asian deals after losing as much as 5% overnight.

Asian stocks succumbed to selling pressure on Friday as lower commodity prices pulled down mining and energy stocks and investors awaited the US employment report later in the day for clues as to whether the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again at its June meeting.

US employment is expected to increase by 180,000 jobs in April after an increase of 98,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 4.6% from 4.5%. Investors also remained focus on this weekend’s presidential runoff vote in France, Nasdaq reported.

China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 24.33 points or 0.78% to 3,103.04 on concerns over cooling growth and tightening regulatory scrutiny to curb leverage and speculation. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 207 points or 0.83% at 24,475 in late trade.

Weaker iron ore and copper prices weighed on miners, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group losing 2-3%. Gold miner Newcrest fell over 3% after gold prices fell to close at their lowest level in seven weeks overnight.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy lost 2-3% as oil extended losses in Asian deals after losing as much as 5% overnight on concerns about global oversupply.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 12.92 points or 0.18% to 7,365.50, with Tegel Group Holdings and Comvita plunging around 6% each. Tegel announced that its chairman, James Ogden, has resigned from his role as chairman and director of the company. Comvita had its price target cut by investment analysts.

Malaysia’s KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.2% after a government report showed the country’s exports grew at a faster-than-expected rate in March. Exports expanded an annual 24.1% in the month, well above the 20% climb economists had expected.

Financial markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

India’s Sensex was down about 0.8% at 29,897 after reclaiming the 30,000-mark on Thursday.

The Taiwan weighted index dropped 0.7% and Singapore’s Straits Times index was declining 0.2%, while Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index and Malaysia’s KLSE Composite were up around 0.2% each.




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