China stocks fall nearly 2%; U.S. jobs report ahead


SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Friday trade as investors look 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 around 1.6% while the Shenzhen component dropped 1.856%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.6%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan nudged 0.23% higher while the Topix index gained 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed about 0.1%.

Shares in Australia rose as the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.44%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.82%.

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 grew by 706,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% from 5.8%, according to Dow Jones.

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Oil prices muted

Oil prices were little changed in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures below the flatline as they traded at $75.82 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures hovered above the flatline at $75.26 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, an energy alliance often called OPEC+, was delayed to Friday. The delay came after the United Arab Emirates objected to a new oil deal, Reuters reported Thursday, citing OPEC+ sources.

“Our bullish tilt on crude oil remains,” analysts at OCBC Treasury Research wrote in a Friday note. “We expect some form of reduced compromise to be ironed out by today.”

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.559 after rising from below 92.1 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.56 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 110.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7464 following its slip from above $0.755 earlier in the trading week.



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